Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani announces unceremonious end to Thursday’s proceedings
ISLAMABAD: Thursday’s Senate proceedings were cut short when the Pakistan Peoples Party-led (PPP) Opposition walked out in protest against the federal government’s response to the Mina incident.
As a result, treasury benches could not gather the required quorum.
The upper house of the Parliament has 104 members and one-fourth or 26 members constitutes quorum, unless it is pointed out. Though her colleagues walked out and boycotted the entire day’s proceedings, Senator Sehar Kamran of the PPP came to point out the quorum.
Read: 45 Pakistani pilgrims still missing as death toll hits 89
Further, the Opposition managed to prove its point that it has numerical superiority over the government and can dictate its terms as and when needed.
Despite a 30-minute break following the walk-out, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, who often succeeds in convincing members against protests and walk-out, was unable to achieve the required number of senators, and announced an end to the proceedings.
Earlier, PPP and ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senators picked up where they left off from in the previous session —mudslinging and indulging in blame games regarding corruption.
On Tuesday, a debate erupted over the involvement of well-known personalities in corruption. Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan once again attempted to speak about Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s alleged corruption at the start of today’s proceedings, but Senator Rabbani did not allow him to so.
Read: Senators unhappy over govt’s Mina body count updates
Meanwhile, in response to questions regarding the government’s response to the stampede incident during Hajj, in which 89 Pakistanis were killed and 45 are still missing, Rashid said that the prime minister had directed the minister for religious affairs to stay in Saudi Arabia till the resolution of the issue, adding the names and photos of those who died have been posted on the ministry’s website and a search operation for those missing was under way.
The minister said that relatives of the victims would be given opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia to offer prayers at their loved ones’ graves.
“Can you guarantee that the graves would remain and not be razed to ground?” asked Ahsan, further questioning why the bodies had not been brought back?
Rashid clarified that Hajj pilgrims sign an agreement that in case of their death they should be buried there. However, he said the government is making efforts for those who requested to bring back the bodies of their relatives, quoting the case of a relative of former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Unsatisfied with the response, the Opposition forced Ahsan to announce the walk-out.
Later, Chaudhry Tanveer of the PML-N said, “The atmosphere of the house since the last few days was not appropriate.”
“When politicians are pitted against each other, then there are some motives in the background,” he said, suggesting that the on-going blame game was perhaps part of some conspiracy.
Read: Mina stampede: Plea on Hajj tragedy ‘bid to strain Riyadh ties’