ISLAMABAD - The major opposition parties in the Senate Thursday strongly condemned the federal government's proposal to get the military establishment directly involved in the dialogue process with the Taliban, saying the civilian government was abdicating its space as a result of this decision.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also came under fire in the House over extending the invitation to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) peace committee for breakfast, as ANP lawmaker Zahid Khan showing his resentment said, "The PM was inviting TTP and militants for breakfast."
The PPP, ANP, MQM and PML-Q opposed the idea of the PML-N-led government to involve the army into dialogue process. Mian Raza Rabbani on a point of order said that the civilian government was abdicating its space as a result of getting the military establishment directly involved in the talks. He condemning the PML-led government said, "Whenever the PML-N came into power, it ignored Parliament that gave rise to conspiracies and as a result, extra constitutional steps were taken." He said that Taliban had weakened every institution of the state and added, "How army could be involved into the dialogue process on the advice of Taliban?" He said the step would be inappropriate and would have serious repercussions.
Zahid Khan of ANP said, "Either there is civil or dictatorial regime, we oppose the involvement of army in the dialogue process."
Mushahid Hussain Sayed of PML-Q also strongly opposed the idea, saying on one side they were talking about civilian supremacy but on the other they were thinking about involvement of army in the process. He said that the government wanted to avoid the responsibility by involving the army. "Either there will be foreign policy, national security policy or dialogue, the government was avoiding his responsibility," he said. And the government was adopting the same kind of attitude by giving aid to Syrian rebels. He deplored that no functionary from the government condoled with family of Fizza Malik, a young lawyer who martyred in terrorism incident of District Courts, Islamabad.
The government also came under censure by opposition, especially Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), for its intentions to continue talks with the Taliban.
However, Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq rejecting the criticism of opposition benches said that all parties including MQM had endorsed in the previous three APCs (all parties conferences) to hold a dialogue with the militant groups.
Haji Adeel of ANP said that all three APCs, held under the supervision of ANP, JUI-F and the incumbent government, had decided to negotiate with those groups who would accept the Constitution and the Parliament. "There is no answer from the Taliban that that they accept the Constitution, state, Parliament and government," he said adding that the negotiations were being held against the decision of APCs.
Babar Ghauri of MQM said that the stance of his party was clear that the government would negotiate with only those groups which accept Constitution.
Earlier, Mian Raza Rabbani pointed out that the government had not presented the document of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) before the House despite Chairman Senate directed twice in this connection. "Disobedience to the order of the House is contempt of the House," he said while quoting relevant rules. He said that the chairman could enforce its orders under the rules and proposed that chair should suspend the entire Senate session so that the government could know that the directions of chairman could not be taken for granted.
Raja Zafarul Haq assured the House that the document would be placed before the House before its prorogation.
Pervaiz Rasheed introduced three bills before the House that were referred to the relevant standing committee despite opposition of the government that at least two of them should be passed in the same form as passed by the National Assembly. The bills include the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2014, the Federal Court (Repeal) Bill, 2014 and the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (Amendment) Bill, 2014. The government was of the view that there was no reason to send the Federal Court (Repeal) Bill, 2014 and the National Judicial (Policy Making) Committee (Amendment) Bill, 2014 to the concerned committees.
Chairman Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Haji Adeel, presented report on the Pakistan Sovereignty Bill, 2010 but the House didn't approve the bill and dropped it.
Federal Minister Rana Tanveer responding a calling attention notice regarding issuance of SRO altering the terms and conditions of some service groups to their disadvantage in contravention of the provisions of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, said SRO was issued while implementing the SC order on Orya Maqbool Jan case. "It is not violations of the provision of the Act," he said.
PPP Senator Farhatullah Bar, mover of the notice, pointed out that under the SRO, 65 per cent quota of All Pakistan Unified (APU) Group had been given to DMG group in promotions from grade 20 and 21. "You cannot issue such SRO that nullifies the Act," Farhatullah Babar said before the chairman remarked that matter was subjudice as it was before the Supreme Court.
Maula Bukhsh Chandio showed his apprehension that federal government was likely to sack a number of employees of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA). And, the employees of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) had not received their 19-month salary as a result of controversy arising due to 18th Amendment, he said.
Sehr Kamar remarked that a number of Pakistanis were languishing in jails of Saudi Arabia and the government was not paying attention towards them. "Seven women are jailed there only due to overstay," she said, adding many of them were jailed because of non-payment of fine.