–Murad says cases against opposition leaders were registered during their respective governments
ISLAMABAD: The Senate session on Wednesday was disrupted when Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri’s remarks over electoral rigging drew criticism from the treasury benches, which soon escalated into a ruckus.
A motion moved by Leader of the Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq and others in the Senate regarding alleged political victimisation and denial of fundamental rights to the opposition leaders and revocation of citizenship of a former parliamentarian was brought up for discussion.
Opposition Senators Usman Khan Kakar, Farooq H Naek, Mushtaq Ahmed, Sherry Rehman, Bahramand Khan Tangi, Raza Rabbani, Moula Bakhsh Chandio, Abdul Qayyum, Ghafoor Haideri and others criticised the government for growing inflation, alleged political victimisation and media censorship.
Addressing the House, the JUI-F leader claimed that the incumbent government came to power through rigging in the 2018 general election. He also accused the government of carrying out political victimisation in the name of accountability. “This is not accountability but victimisation as only two families are being subjected to accountability,” he said, adding that the no political leader in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is being investigated for corruption.
Haideri’s remarks drew criticism from Senator Faisal Javed and Senator Azam Sawati. Responding to their criticism, the JUI-F leader said that the current administration is incapable of running the country, because of which everyone is demanding its removal. As soon as Haideri finished his speech, Opposition members left the House.
Responding to Haideri’s tirade, Federal Communications Minister Murad Saeed said that the opposition should show some courage and listen to the government’s response.
He said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had not lodged even a single corruption case against the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
“The leadership of both parties got cases registered against each other during their respective governments,” he said.
He recalled that PTI had demanded probe into election rigging and electoral reforms after the 2013 general election. “We had called for opening of only four constituencies but the then government refused to accept the demand despite tall claims of the then interior minister for opening of 40,” he added.
He said that PTI workers were arrested and cases were registered against the incumbent prime minister and president under terrorist acts.
Murad said that the Panama Papers were made public in 2016 by investigative journalists and not the PTI. “The government does not believe in political victimisation, which is evident from the fact that no hurdle was created in the way of opposition’s protest march during its journey from Karachi to Islamabad,” he added.
He said that JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had done nothing for Kashmiris as the chairman of the Kashmir Committee whereas the prime minister had presented the Kashmir case effectively at all international forums, including the United Nations (UN).
Earlier, taking part in the debate, Senator Faisal Javed Khan said that political parties should do constructive opposition in the larger national interest. The Kashmir issue, he said, had gone into background due to the opposition’s sit-in. He further said that no case had been registered against the opposition leaders by the PTI government.
PPP leader Moula Bux Chandio lost his temper when Pakistan Senator Javed called the party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari a “baby” upon being called the same by the former earlier.
The PPP leader said, “We will throw you out if you call our chairman a baby”. PPP information secretary too became angry and said, “You all are not equal to even Bilawal’s shoes. We will fight if you say anything against him.”
Chandio then said that the institutions and political leadership should be respected in the country. He added that those who contributed towards Pakistan are getting banned from generation to generation. “The agenda of the incumbent government is not to work but to spread chaos”, he added.
He criticised the government senators and said, “Why do they bring such members when the House is running smoothly? I see Shibli Faraz dancing on the tunes of Murad Saeed.”
Pointing at Murad, Chandio said that he is the second Fawad Chaudhry born in their government. “They mock us when we deliver a speech”, he said, adding that nothing gets inside the head of the government.