Opp preparing to give govt ‘tough time’ in upcoming parliamentary sittings | Pakistan Today

Opp preparing to give govt ‘tough time’ in upcoming parliamentary sittings

–PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal, Mushahid Hussain Syed lash out at govt for cancelling joint session ahead of schedule

–PPP’s Naz Baloch thinks govt’s Kashmir strategy has failed to garner international support

ISLAMABAD: The abrupt cancellation of the joint session of the parliament and the following session of the National Assembly (NA) has reignited anger and fury among the opposition’s ranks and the major opposition parties have decided to devise a joint strategy to give a tough time to the federal government in the upcoming parliamentary sessions.

Well-placed sources in both major opposition parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – told Pakistan Today that the opposition was devising a joint strategy to deal the government with stringent protest.

“We are weighing our options on how to deal with the government in the next parliamentary session. We plan to register a strong protest in the joint parliamentary session. We will not allow the president to make a speech in the joint session where we enjoy majority,” said a senior PML-N leader.

The PML-N leader said that the abrupt cancellation of the joint sitting of the parliament reflected that the government had received information about opposition’s plan to stage a huge protest and it had cancelled the session weeks ahead of schedule.

“We wonder what made the government cancel the session. Even the follow up session of the NA was also cancelled. But we will register our protest even in next session,” the leader said.

When asked what had made the government cancel the sessions, the PML-N leader said that perhaps the government was facing embarrassment over the ‘illegal appointment’ of the two members of the Election Commission (ECP) – each from Sindh and Balochistan.

When contacted, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said that the federal government should have held the parliamentary session to express solidarity with Kashmir as well.

“The government adjourned the session because it feared opposition’s strong reaction on ECP members’ ‘unconstitutional’ nomination by the president. It clearly shows that government does not give the parliament priority in its working,” he added.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed told Pakistan Today that the abrupt cancellation of the joint session reflects what has become a hallmark of the current government’s governance style: announcing then reversing.

“It happened with the airspace closure issue, it happened with taking India to the ICJ [International Court of Justice], and now the joint session. The worst part is that the reason is never explained, so the decisions, rather, pronouncements, remain inexplicable and mysterious. They government has adopted a policy of governance through whims, caprices and impulses, rather than well-thought out decisions after consultations,” he said.

Talking to Pakistan Today, PPP lawmaker Naz Baloch said that the sudden annulment of the joint parliamentary session reflected the fears of the federal government from opposition’s joint move.

“You can better understand the alarm bells ringing in the government circles that when almost all the lawmakers had arrived federal capital to attend the parliamentary sessions, the government decided to cancel the sessions without any justification.

“The entire focus of the government is on political witch-hunt and victimisation. The way the government is dealing with the political leadership reflects that the ruling party leadership is not sincere to Kashmir cause,” she said.

Elaborating, Naz Baloch said that it was the perfect time for sending a strong message to the world that Pakistan stands united with the Kashmiri brethren.

“However, this political victimisation is sending negative signals to the world. The message from Islamabad is that there is a double-speak. The voice is not unanimous and this is a disservice to Kashmir cause,” she asserted.

Naz Baloch, a former PTI leader herself, came down hard over the Kashmir strategy of Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that the way the government is handling its Kashmir policy reflects “immature and imprudent” approach.

“Rather than banking on his Twitter diplomacy (also called twiplomacy) and staging protests, the prime minister should now have been visiting the leaders of the world. Had he visited Gulf nations personally, Modi would not have won support from Gulf states on Kashmir,” said the PPP lawmaker.

She said that rather than exposing the barbaric policies of Modi regime in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), PM Imran was staying back in Pakistan which reflected weakness in the country’s diplomacy.

“It also reflects the flawed strategy the Foreign Office (FO) and Foreign Ministry has adopted on Kashmir. The government should have sent its foreign minister abroad with a plan to garner diplomatic support,” she added.

She said that the government was losing the support from the opposition on Kashmir capture by Modi. “Had there been a parliamentary session, we would have debated Kashmir policy in detail and the opposition could have been government’s best bet as its support in parliament could have enabled the government to present its case abroad strongly. But rather than banking on the parliamentary support, the government is arresting the opposition leaders on one pretext or another,” she maintained.

She said that the prime minister lacked political acumen due to his short parliamentary career and he was unable to get it from the parliament too. “I believe the voices of the political leadership from the parliament need to be heard and acted upon,” she concluded.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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