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Parliament stands by PM, constitution, democracy

03 September, 2014

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ISLAMABAD: The joint session of parliament on Tuesday, called in the backdrop of the worsening political uncertainty amid anti-government protests, called for registering cases against PTI chief Imran Khan and PAT head Tahirul Qadri "for waging a rebellion against the state".

The specially convened joint session of both the houses of parliament, chaired by National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq roared against the two protesting parties for storming parliament and PTV headquarters and showed concern over the perceived weaknesses of state institutions to tackle them effectively.

The PML-N government heaved a sigh of relief on the back of all parliamentary groups' support in the House for continuity of system, however, it received strong criticism from the opposition parties which recommended the government mend its ways, saying things have come to a head "because of its misdeeds".

The mood of the House was cheerful, and it welcomed the speakers of both the sides of aisle with loud desk thumping, especially whenever they pledged to protect the constitution and parliament.

The opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) particularly seized the opportunity to settle scores with the government. PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan, who is the leader of opposition in Senate, lambasted the ruling party and implicitly criticised the federal ministers for what he said was their egoistic manner of dealing with the opposition, particularly PPP.

Opening the debate under a motion tabled by treasury side Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan urged parliament to strongly acknowledge that the struggle of Imran Khan and Qadri is not part of any protest but a rebellion against the state and its institutions. He also accused the both parties of dragging the army and judiciary into politics, calling it a heinous crime.

Nisar sought the guidance of parliament and said that the time has come to take action, as inaction would be a crime now. "The protesting leaders are not revolutionaries but intruders and terrorists," Nisar noted.

Speaking about the statement of dissident PTI president Javed Hashmi that the army was backing the protests to overthrow the government, the interior minister said that he has also evidences about such a plan against the system but avoided disclosing anything on the floor of the House. Meanwhile, Aitzaz Ahsan in his well articulated speech spared neither the government nor PTI and PAT. He said the opposition has been compelled to stand with the government just for the cause of democracy.

"Our support is unconditional and we will do the accountability of the government once it comes out of the current crisis", Aitzaz said. He called upon the prime minister to not resign from his office. "Nobody can take your resignation," he remarked while assuring the support of all opposition parties to him in this regard.

Although he criticised the protests of the PTI and PAT, but he saw some weight in their demands, especially over the Model Town, Lahore crackdown by Punjab Police in which 17 civilians were killed and rigging allegations by Imran Khan. He asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to review his policy and beware of those people around him whose role led to his ouster from the government twice in the past. He said those people are doing the same again.


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