Senators from across political divide join hands against Army statement about governance

ISLAMABAD: Members from across the political divide joined hands in the SenateThursday criticizing the Pakistan army’s statement about governance. The Senators said the performance of the military institutions was not also upto the mark but the civilian institutions cannot debate that in the open.

Speaking on points of order, the Senators made it clear that they would not compromise on sustenance of democracy and supremacy of the parliament.  They said the army should not become monitor of democratic government and the parliament.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani said he cannot give a ruling on the issue but can advice that all institutions should work by remaining within the scope of the constitution and the law. He  recommended the government to call a joint sitting of the parliament and if that was not possible an in-camera session of the Senate be held where the members be briefed about foreign policy and National Action Plan.

The issue was raised by PPP’s Farhatullah Babar while leader of the opposition Ch Aitzaz Ahsan, Nouman Wazir, Prof Sajid Mir, Usman Khan Kakar, Nihal Hashmi and Mohsan Leghari also took part in the discussion.

Farhatullah Babar said that poor governance is there in civil departments, judiciary and armed forces as well. He said that the way adopted by army commanders to raise the issue was wrong. Such statement depicts government’s inefficiency, he added.

He said that the government should have given an explanation in the matter however, they are not present. Chairman Rabbani remarked, that is why the government has been tagged with poor governance allegations.

He said that the government neither has a permanent foreign minister nor defense minister.

Opposition leader Aitzaz Ahsan said that the army does not have any right to interfere in civil matters. He said that government members appear in talk shows and target opposition’s character.

Aitzaz Ahsan said he is the biggest critic of the government’s performance but he along with other opposition will always stand by the government in difficult times.

Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party’s (PkMAP) Usman Kakkar said that army is constantly interfering in foreign and interior policies. He said that policies are to be chalked by the elected leaders and not by the army.

The Senate Chairman said that he could only recommend the government to limit functioning of all institutions within the Constitution of Pakistan. Solution to problems can be found in the Parliament, he added.

Senator Mohsin Laghari said that be it quakes or floods, army is called every single time because civil institutions do not shoulder responsibilities. Army deployment is also needed for elections, he added. However, he said that army should not have breached the civil premises and talked about governance.

The House also held discussion on the first biannual report on the implementation of National Finance Commission Award. Members emphasized the composition of new National Finance Commission should be completed at the earliest to finalize the Award.

They said the new NFC award should transfer resources to the provinces not only on the basis of population and backwardness but also keep in view the Sustainable Development Goals.


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