MPs against GST bill accuse Naek of flouting democratic norms

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ISLAMABAD: Senators belonging to the parties which opposed the General Sales Tax (RGST) Bill in the Upper House on Friday accused Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek of partiality, saying he does not conduct business of the house according to rules and democratic traditions.
They made these comments talking to reporters outside the Parliament House after the session of the Upper House prorogued for the day. PML-N Senator Ishaq Dar said that the behaviour of the chairman was against democratic norms. “We asked the chairman to allow count of the votes, but he didn’t. Had he allowed the count, it would have exposed the government’s strength in the House,” Dar said.
He said that the government ‘bulldozed’ the opinion of the parties. To a question, the PML-N senator said that recommendations made by the opposition were subject to their demands and they did not mean ‘acceptance of the bill’ in any way. Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Professor Khurshid Ahmad said that Naek violated the rules by not allowing count of votes in favour and against the GST Bill recommendations.
“According to rules, counting is essential whenever there is confusion over the number of voice votes and the chairman of Senate has violated rules by not allowing the counting of votes,” Khurshid said. “It cannot be called a victory of the government. By not allowing the count of the voice votes, the government actually has lost the battle in the Upper House,” he added.
Khurshid also added that the PML-Q, which had evolved an understanding with all parties opposing the bill, deceived them halfway by staging a walkout. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Senator Maulana Ghafoor Haideri said that it was a ‘black day’ in Pakistan’s parliamentary history as the majority was converted into a minority by violating rules.
Senator Pervaiz Rasheed said that had the PML-Q had not ditched them halfway, the government would have been defeated. Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri said that the Senate chairman had behaved in a partial manner in blatant violation of democratic principles.
“It was a black day for the whole country as the government flouted all democratic principles and norms,” Ghauri said.
ANP legislators walk out over Pakhtuns’ arrest
ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The Awami National Party (ANP), a coalition partner of the ruling PPP, on Friday staged a token walk out from Senate proceedings in protest against what they called the “indiscriminate” arrest of Pakhtuns in Karachi.
Senator Zahid Khan, on a point of order, contended that more than 700 Pakhtuns had been arrested in Karachi during the past 24 hours by the provincial authorities without any reason. Interestingly, Professor Khurshid of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Ishaq Dar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz also walked out to express solidarity with ANP.
However, later, they all returned to the Upper House. Staff Report