–Crisis averted as PM sends olive branch to Senate chairman
–Raza Rabbani, Wasim Sajjad say chairman acted under rules
ISLAMABAD: Although experts say that the Senate chairman enjoys the powers to bar any minister or member enter the House, the tiff between Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday took another turn as Prime Minister Imran Khan intervened and sent an olive branch to Senate chairman asking him to resolve the matter amicably.
The development came in wake of Senate chairman’s ruling putting a bar on Fawad Chaudhry’s entry in the Upper House of the parliament.
Asked if the Senate chairman enjoyed powers to bar any minister enter the House, eminent jurist and former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani told Pakistan Today that he would comment through his own prism as he had also passed the same orders.
“As Senate chairman, I had barred (the then) minister Khwaja Asif from entering the House for ten days. I believe it is very much within the ambit of chairman or speaker to bar any minister or member to enter the House through such a ruling,” he added.
Wasim Sajjad, another prominent lawyer and a former Senate chairman also confirmed to Pakistan Today that Senate chairman enjoyed the requisite powers to bar any minister from entering the House. However, Wasim Sajjad said, using these powers was a privilege he himself never exercised although he served as Senate chairman for twelve long years.
“I think such extreme powers are rarely used. So it is a decision to be made by the Senate chairman whether or not to exercise such powers,” he added.
According to a handout issued by Chairman’s Office, the chairman had used his powers conferred in him under Rule 13/4 coupled with Rule 264 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, 2012.
Rule 13 provides:
(1) In addition to the specific functions and powers provided by these rules and subject to sub-rule (5) of rule 12, the chairman shall take the chair at every sitting of the Senate.
(4) The chairman may initiate, when necessary, such action against those responsible for prestige and/or privilege of the House by act of commission omission, including action, that may obstruct the working/proceedings of the House.
Rule 264 provides:
“All matters not specifically provided for in these rules and all questions relating to the detailed working of these rules shall be regulated in such manner as the chairman may, from time to time, direct.
The standing orders notified by the Senate Secretariat with the approval of the chairman shall be read and complied with as extension of these rules in respect of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Senate and its Committees. The Standing Orders shall also be read in extension to the Rules and Procedures applicable to the Senate Secretariat.
PM IMRAN KHAN INTERVENES, SENDS AN OLIVE BRANCH TO SANJRANI:
According to sources, PM Khan tasked Defence Minister Pervez Khattak to meet Sadiq Sanjrani and help resolve the matter. The meeting took place at Senate’s chairman office as Khattak visited along with a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) delegation and conveyed a message of the prime minister.
Sources said that the meeting had largely helped in removing tensions and Senate chairman was upbeat after receiving a message from the prime minister.
Later, Senate Secretariat also issued another handout about the meeting, stating that the defence minister had conveyed a special message from the prime minister to the chairman. The PTI delegation also included Leader of the House Shibli Faraz, Minister for Science & Technology Azam Swati and Senate Standing Committee Chairman Faisal Javed Khan.
“The defence minister has assured full cooperation of prime minister to Senate chairman. The Senate chairman has expressed special gratitude to the prime minister. He said that the timely intervention of the prime minister and sending defence minister had further upheld the sanctity of the Senate. Prime minister’s role in upholding the supremacy of the parliament is commendable. I hope that that House would be run amicably and with consensus,” the statement quoted Senate chairman.