Sadiq Sanjrani raises objections to a requisition notice moved by opposition.
ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjarani and Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla appear to be at odds over requisitioning of a session of the upper house of the parliament to discuss and admit a privilege motion moved by the latter against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) authorities.
The opposition parties recently submitted a requisition notice to the Senate Secretariat seeking a Senate session to discuss several crucial political matters, including a resolution against alleged human rights violations being committed by NAB, among other things.
However, the Senate secretariat has raised several objections, saying “admitting a privilege motion and adoption of resolution during a requisitioned session is not covered in the Constitution, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012 or the Standing Orders.”
In the agenda of the requisition, it stated, “item number 1 is about discussion and admitting the privilege motion moved by Deputy Chairman Senate against NAB authorities, item numbers 2 and 3 are about discussion and adoption of two resolutions against NAB while item number 4 and 5 are about discussion on alleged crackdown on opposition workers and rigging in Gilgit Baltistan elections.”
The Senate Secretariat’s letter issued through Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and addressed to the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq stated that a ruling of the chair issued on February 10, 2016, addressed the questions of “Treatment of Business during a Requisitioned Session”.
The letter stated that the ruling “explicitly provides that the mode of taking up the issues/matters in the requisition shall be through a motion under Rule 218.”
It added that there is “nothing here that the said rule provides a parliamentary tool to take into consideration and discuss any policy, situation or any other matter and does not provide for admitting a privilege motion or adoption of a resolution.”
The secretariat, subsequently, said that a revised agenda for the requisitioned session may be provided in light of the ruling, adding that further action will be taken on receipt of the reply.
Mandviwalla said “he [Sanjarani] is under pressure not to accept the privilege motion,” adding that the chairman can’t stop it as “he can’t subvert the Constitution and Senate Rules.”The Senate’s deputy chairman contended that “he [Sanjrani] can be charged by the house for not accepting the privilege motion.”
Mandviwalla said: “Sanjrani knows that he can’t stop the session but he is trying to delay. There is a constitutional crisis in the upper house because he [Sanjrani] is creating bureaucratic hurdles.”
Commenting on the objections raised by the Senate Secretariat, Mandviwalla while referring to the procedure regarding treatment of business during a requisitioned session said the procedure states that in a requisitioned Session the priority is required to be given to the issues mentioned in the requisition.
He said Clause 1.3 of the procedure states that the said “issue/matter shall be placed on the Orders of the Day.”
On December 1, Mandviwalla wrote to the Senate Secretariat about his privilege motion against NAB and the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) officials that he moved on November 25 but was not admitted.
“In order to maintain the dignity of this august house and to protect the Hon’ble members from false, fabricated, baseless and unjustified allegations, the admittance of already submitted motion is the need of the hour,” he stated.
“I do believe, you being custodian of the House and to abide by the oath taken, will admit the motion without further loss of time,” he said.
Mandviwalla said that by not admitting the privilege motion “he [Sanjrani] will go down in history as violator of the Constitution.” In response to the Senate Secretariat’s objections, sources said, the opposition is likely to file the requisition again on Monday