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Opposition senators say govt not taking parliament seriously

16 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: Opposition senators on Wednesday came down hard over the government's response towards the Senate, and said that the government is not giving any importance to parliament.

They said the prime minister did not come to parliament and federal ministers were not responding properly to the questions raised by senators.

During the question hour at the Senate, most of the ministers failed to properly respond to senators' queries.

State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal Khan and federal minister for parliamentary affairs were unable to properly respond to the senators' questions.

Leader of Opposition in the Senate Aitizaz Ahmad said that in India and UK, the PM comes and respond to the questions of parliamentarians but here the situation is totally opposite.

He asked the Senate chairman to teach ministers how to respond to parliamentarians' questions in parliament. No minister has come here with preparation, he added.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq agreed with Aitizaz and assured the House that he would take appropriate measures in this connection.

Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bukhari was of the view that usually a senator asks about one thing but the minister concerned explains something else.

ANP senators and Abid Sher Ali also contradicted each other's statements over AGN Qazi formula, approved by the Council of Common Interest (CCI).

Abdul Nabi Bangash and Ilyas Bilor claimed that according to AGN Qazi formula, the federal government has to pay Rs 20 billion per annum to KP as the Rs 6 billion formula has not been approved by anyone.

ANP senators staged a walk out, saying that the Centre was not fulfilling rights of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa properly.

On a point of order, PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani identified that the government is violating constitution by not calling a Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting despite passage of over 160 days.

According to the constitution, the government has to call a CCI meeting after every 90 days but the last meeting was held on July 30, 2013. There are several important matters pending for CCI meeting like holding of census and privatisation of public entities which require CCI approval.

If the federal government fails to call a CCI meeting soon, Sindh will invoke clause 3 and call on the PM to call the CCI meeting.

Minister Riaz Pirzada assured the House that he would contact the PM within 48 hours and discuss the issue. After a meeting with the PM, he said, the House would be informed. Holding of CCI meeting in 90 days is a constitutional requirement, he said.

On a call attention notice, Raza Rabbani raised the issue of sacking of 500 employees of LESCO.

He said that well off people were facilitated through SROs, but regretted that PSM employees have failed to get salaries from the last three months. To protest against sacking of LESCO employees, the opposition also walked out.

Abid Sher Ali informed the House that the 500 employees were daily wagers and they were fired from their jobs on discretion of the company.

End.

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