Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed joint session of Parliament of Pakistan on Thursday. But Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf decided to boycott Tayyip Erdogan’s address, decision of boycotting session was taken by party leadership few days before, despite the request of Turkish ambassador not to do so. PTI was of the view that party decided not to attend a joint session held under a “controversial” prime minister who was facing charges of corruption. Party leadership also said that decision of PTI was by not any means to discourage visiting President of Turkey. Senior leader of PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that PTI has great respect for the Turkish president, but due to clear perspective of the party on the Panama leaks issue and decided not to attend joint session.
Despite the fact that PTI has initiated protests against corruption and was successful to put pressure on the government and ultimately Supreme Court of Pakistan is hearing case of assets of children of Prime Minister. But the decision of boycotting joint session when President of a friendly country had to address was not pleasant. We appreciate consistent pursuing of investigations of Panama Papers by PTI, but now case is in the apex court, party should have joined the session.
Even if the allegations against the Prime Minister are proven to be true by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, boycotting the Parliament is equal to discrediting millions of voters of PML-N. strengthening the institution of parliament is necessary for the progress of democracy, especially in a country like Pakistan, where dictatorship quite often derailed democracy. In routine sessions of Parliament, Imran Khan Chief of PTI and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif often receive criticism for very low attendance. But at a time when high level personality from a friendly brotherly country come to grace Parliament, politicians putting aside their differences must come to attend the session.
Absence of PTI lawmakers from Parliament during Turkish President Erdogan’s address was unfortunate.