Rabbani stresses for inter-institutional dialogue

  • Says annulment of Article 89 necessary for supremacy of parliament

ISLAMABAD: Outgoing Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Friday said each institution has to work within its constitutional limits for the country to function smoothly as he stressed for an immediate inter-institutional dialogue.

In his farewell address, Rabbani discouraged the clash among the institutions, saying “we have to let go of our egos” for the sake of the country.

“Institutions must not exceed their domain,” he said, adding that this applies to the Pakistan Army as well which comes under the executive.

He said the process of dialogue among institutions was initiated with the visits of former chief justice of Pakistan (CJP) and chief of the army staff to the Senate and his meeting with the incumbent CJP.

He went to reprimand the politicians for creating a vacuum in parliament, saying, “We need to introspect and see if we have committed a mistake.”

“The parliament was dissolved and remained suspended in past, but after revival, it had passed all the laws enacted by usurpers and 18th Constitutional Amendment was an exception, under which “we did not ratify any law of Pervez Musharraf and also avoided a legal vacuum,” he said.

Regarding his commitment to the democratic setup, the outgoing chairman insisted that he had always tried to uphold the supremacy of parliament.

He was also of the view that “in order to maintain the supremacy of the parliament, Article 89 of the Constitution must be deleted”.

“The Article 89 allows the president to promulgate ordinances. The president may, except when the [Senate or] National  Assembly is in session if satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary to take immediate action, make and promulgate an ordinance as the circumstances may require.”

While terming slain PPP leader Benazir Bhutto as his “political mother”, Rabbani apprised senators that he started his political career as a common political worker. He credited his success as a politician to two women: his mother and Benazir Bhutto.

Rabbani said he always strives to abide by “Bhutto’s legacy” of never compromising on principles. As speaker of the Senate, he hoped that his name would be written among those who always upheld the supremacy of the parliament.

“It was due to the collective leadership of the Senate, not just the chairman that this house was able to be run,” he lauded the senators for their cooperation.

With the “horse-trading” in the recent Senate polls talk to the town, Rabbani criticised political parties, saying Senate’s reforms were rejected almost every party.

He recalled that the Senate had passed a report regarding election reforms and forwarded it to the parliamentary committee. “However, the committee rejected the reforms.”

Rabbani said the Senate had recommended that names of lawmakers must be written on ballot paper in order to end the secrecy of the ballot so that polling can be transparent. “Still every party rejected those suggestions,” he stated.

After the session when asked by a reporter whether he would take oath as a senator on March 12, Rabbani refused to comment, saying: “I will come to parliament on March 12 and then we will see.”


However, in a late meeting with Bilawal, he agreed to take oath as a PPP senator. He assured PPP Co-Chairman Bilawal Bhutto that he will support the party and will comply with whatever decision it will take.

Following a late night meeting with PPP chairman, Rabbani agreed to take oath as a PPP senator, saying he will remain a part of the PPP and carry on with his duties as a party leader. According to media reports, Bilawal lauded Raza Rabbani for his services as the Senate chairman and assured him to address his concerns.

He thanked all the senators, employees, Capital Development Authority and media for extending cooperation during his 3-year tenure as Senate chairman.

“I am also thankful to the prime minister, his cabinet members, leader of the house and leader of the opposition for extending their cooperation,” he added.

Rabbani also handed over the details about his assets and liabilities to the Senate Secretariat.

It may be mentioned here that Rabbani and PPP Co-Chairman have apparently developed differences after Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif proposed to field Rabbani as a joint candidate of the PPP and PML-N for the chairmanship.

The offer was rejected by Zardari, who, on the next day, accused Rabbani of not doing enough to resist the “anti-democratic” moves of Nawaz.

Responding to the allegation made by Zardari, Rabbani refers to them “contrary to facts”, reported the INP. As the Senate chairman, Rabbani had always prioritised the supremacy of the Constitution, it reported, adding the outgoing chairman made the highest number of rulings against the government— 73 times.

Sources further said for the first time in history, Rabbani banned the entry of federal ministers in the house, adding that the chairman also suspended the membership of Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif.