Raza Rabbani postpones official visit to Iran, no-show at ILF

  • Says govt, ministers don’t hold Senate in esteem

It seems Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani has had enough of his fellow senators and ministers’ absence during Senate’s session, as he halted his official duties, returned his official vehicle and protocol, and prorogued the Senate session indefinitely here during the Senate session.

On Friday, chairman Rabbani during Senate sessions repeatedly pointed out the sluggish, non-serious attitude of ministers and senators alike. However on Friday, when the session began, ministers were absent from the house. Chairman Rabbani adjourned the house for 35 minutes and ordered that the ministers make themselves available. When the proceedings resumed, however, no minister or secretary was present in the house during the question and answer hour.

On this, Rabbani adjourned the house under Senate Rule 23 of Senate rules of procedure and conduct of business for the first time.

During the session, Rabbani said that the government and ministers don’t hold Senate in esteem. “If the government has some misgivings, and if I cannot maintain the authority of the house, then I have no right to sit on this seat,” he said. He added that the government is denying Senate its constitutional role. “If I cannot uphold the sanctity of House of Federation, then I am ready to tender my resignation right away,” he said.

After returning to his chamber, he asked his staff to not bring any file work to him as he has stopped working since he is no longer the chairman. According to sources, Rabbani has also cancelled his visit to Iran.

Despite attempts by senators and Law Minister Zahid Hamid to bring Rabbani back, the chairman left Senate in his private vehicle, refusing to take protocol.

“We all stand with chairman Rabbani and fully support his stance,” said Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM, adding that ministers should find time to come in the house and answer the questions put to them by senators.

Raza Rabbani is a veteran PPP politician, a six-time Senator and one of the most trusted advisors of Benazir Bhutto. Previously, ignored for the chairmanship in favour of Farooq H Naik and Nayyar Bukhari, he became the Senate chairman after a mutual consensus of both the government and opposition parties on March 2015.
He not only made Upper House more relevant, vocal and visible but also empowered it more in matters of legislation and policy making.

He also didn’t attend a session at 5th Islamabad Literary Festival, where he was the chief guest of an inaugural session titled ‘Judiciary and the Common Man – The challenges facing ordinary people in the search for justice’.