ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday held a telephonic conversation with Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani wherein he expressed concerns over ban on Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry from attending the proceedings of the Upper House.
PM Khan urged Sanjrani to find a solution to the issue with mutual understanding. The latter assured him that he had no personal conflict with the information minister but his “aggressive” style of speaking made it difficult for him to the run the session smoothly.
On Thursday, Fawad was barred from attending the Senate session after he failed to apologise to the house despite Senate chairman’s directives.
The chairman demanded an apology from Chaudhry after opposition’s insistence and warned the information minister that he would be barred from the Senate if he failed to apologise. At the start of the session, the opposition had threatened to walk out again if Fawad did not tender an apology to the Upper House for his harsh language.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Raja Zafarul Haq lamented that the chairman’s instructions were regularly ignored. “The conversation does not end despite staff turning the mic off,” he said in allusion to Wednesday incident wherein Fawad had continued speaking even though his mic was off.
“We do not have any other solution to this than just walk out. Until an apology is tendered, the rest is all meaningless.”
Leader of the House Shibli Faraz suggested that the record of Fawad and Senator Mushahidullah Khan’s statements be analysed by a committee, and offered an apology on his fellow PTI leader’s behalf. However, his suggestion was opposed by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman and National Party President Hasil Bizenjo.
Following a sharp criticism from all parties, the Senate chairman issued a ruling that “all members are bound to respect the chairman and leaders of the house and opposition”. He also adjourned the session for a while to deliberate over Fawad’s conduct. After recommencement, the chairman held the information minister responsible for disrupting the house and ruled that the latter will be barred from the house if he did not tender an apology.
Sanjrani ordered Fawad to come to the Senate and tender his apology, making it clear that failure to do so on the minister’s part will get him banned from attending the session. The federal minister’s failure to oblige to the ruling led the chairman to impose the bar on him.