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Senate Chairman to oust through no-confidence: APC

27 June, 2019

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ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties on Wednesday reached a consensus to oust Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani through a no-confidence motion in the Upper House of parliament.

“The conference has decided to replace Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani through lawful and constitutional means. A rehbar committee ? to be set up to ensure action on the points agreed upon in the meeting ? will also provide recommendations for possible replacements for Sanjrani,” according to an official statement on the decisions agreed upon by all the attendees of the all-parties conference held here at a local hotel.

“The opposition parties have decided to observe July 25, the date of the general election last year, as a ‘black day’ due to alleged rigging in the polls. They also demanded the immediate resignation of the parliamentary committee formed to probe rigging in the election,” Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said while reading out the statement at a press conference after the meeting.

The participants of the meeting decided that all political parties with ties to the opposition should launch a protest against the budget, which they described as ‘enemy of the people, businessmen, investors, health, education, and farmers’. A mass contact campaign will be launched to apprise citizens of the government’s ‘anti-people’ agenda in order to provide relief to the masses, it was decided at the conference.

The APC demanded that production orders be issued for Waziristan MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, who are in custody, and also called for the formation of a parliamentary committee on Waziristan so that all facts can be laid before the nation. The opposition members demanded the formation of a new accountability law under which all people are tried under a single law by a single institution. With respect to the commission of inquiry announced by the prime minister recently, the opposition demanded that no institutions should interfere with politics, and called for a parliamentary committee comprising an equal number of government and opposition members to probe all grants and debts acquired by the country from the year 2000 onwards.

The opposition also called for the return of missing persons who are in the custody of security forces and have not been presented in courts, and demanded that they be presented in courts. They also called for legislation against torture of prisoners, and for detention centres in the tribal areas to be converted into regular jails, where open courts are held to resolve cases against the prisoners.

The conference demanded immediate removal of unannounced restrictions and censorship of the media, besides ensuring protection of the journalists. They emphasised the need for immediate legislation in this regard.

Members of the PPP, PML-N, JUI-F, Awami National Party (ANP), and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), among others, attended the meeting held to discuss the possibilities of launching an anti-government protest from a single and united platform. The Balochistan National Party-Mengal, which had been attending opposition meetings despite sitting on the treasury benches, decided against attending the APC. The Jamaat-i-Islami, which is sitting on the opposition benches, had already distanced itself from the initiative.

Prominent among those who attended the APC chaired by Maulana Fazl included: Shahbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Ayaz Sadiq and Raja Zafarul Haq from the PML-N; Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Sherry Rehman, Raza Rabbani, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Farhatullah Babar from the PPP; Asfandyar Wali Khan, Mian Iftikhar and Ameer Haider Khan Hoti of the Awami National Party; National Party President Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo; Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai; and Qaumi Watan Party Chairman Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao.

PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz called for consensus on the decision for a change in the Senate chairmanship and deputy chairmanship, a move which she claimed will ‘shake the foundations’ of the government.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, she held that although the removal of the chairman and deputy chairman will not solve all problems, it will be a big hit to the government.

“Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza and I are one … there are no differences in the party,” she said while responding to a question posed by reporters. “The entire party has faith in Shehbaz and Nawaz. We can have differences of opinion, but the final decision ? which is happily accepted ? rests with the leadership,” she reiterated.

Earlier addressing the APC, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif urged the opposition to unite in order to take the nation out of the hardship. He said the nation is reeling under the ‘anti-people’ budget presented by the government and that the opposition should strive together to make the budget unsuccessful.

Fazl reportedly suggested that opposition parties should tender resignations from all assemblies in order to build pressure on the government. Some major opposition parties, however, expressed reservations over the proposal.

ANP leader Asfandyar Wali Khan reportedly suggested that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani should be replaced in order to earn the nation’s trust for the opposition.

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