ISLAMABAD - The joint sitting of the parliament on second day (Wednesday) witnessed a divide in political parties over PTI lawmakers’ resignations, as some parties kept asking the speaker to immediately accept their resignations while others put weight behind handling the political turmoil with patience.
A dozen of PTI lawmakers facing slogans of ‘shame’ marked their presence in the house declaring that their party will never be part of any plan against parliamentary democracy and their workers were not involved in attack on PTV centre.
Some political factions termed allowing these members to enter the house after their tendering resignations a legal glitch, while others viewed that conspiracies were still being hatched so the situation should be tackled with patience and care. A treasury lawmaker even warned government to not indulge in political dialogue with protesting party (PTI) before accepting their resignations.
Sensing the tense atmosphere after heated discussion, Opposition Leader in NA Syed Khursheed Shah lauded speaker for giving chance to PTI members to share their point of view on the floor of the house. “Mian Sb (PM) this is victory of a parliament as you are sitting on your seat and they came here to share their point of view,” he said, hinting to the seemingly vanishing romance of PTI and PAT.
“It is clear rift between two parties, as PTI disclosed that even a single member of their party was not involved in attack on PTV centre,” he said, advising government to avoid being emotional on this situation. “You have got the result of joint session on its second day as it was our advice to call the joint session. Conspiracy is still being hatched,” he said, suggesting government not to lose this opportunity.
Earlier, PTI lawmaker Shah Mehmood Qureshi facing repeated interruption in his speech assured the house that “PTI never was and never will be part of any grand plan that will undermine democracy or the constitution”. Qureshi, amid desk thumping from PTI lawmakers and repeated interruption from some other members, said that PTI’s sit-in was not held on behest of a third power but it was held on the directives of the party.
“This is wrong impression as sensing the emotions of the people we staged sit-in and took principled stand,” he said, mentioning that he considered the parliament his political ‘Ka’aba’ and wanted to save the house, not burn it. “We also discussed before the sit-in that we would condemn and resist martial law... We are not here to fight and settle the score as parliament is like our house,” he said.
About PTI’s grievances, he said the 2013 elections were rigged and Imran Khan had repeatedly warned if justice was not given he would protest on the streets. Qureshi, who did not utter a single word about their party’s resignations, said free and fair elections are important for democracy and the constitution and parliament had to be saved. “Please leave your egos... We are in quagmire; we have to save democracy... We want free and fair election in the country,” he said, adding that other parties have also raised finger on election rigging. “We are ready for dialogue,” he said and left the house with other PTI lawmakers that charged the mode of the house as lawmakers wanted them to listen their speeches as well.
He said the PTI did not invite any third party. “Time is witness that who urged the third party to mediate in political crisis,” he added. He said oath was taken from party workers that no one will enter any state building while marching towards the Red Zone. He asserted PTI throughout the march stayed within the law as its agenda is democratic. He said he went to the PAT container to know viewpoint of Dr Qadri who said his workers have lost their patience and not listening to him while forcing their way into parliament premises. He said he also addressed the PAT workers who booed him and asked him to leave.
At the end of his speech, Qureshi said “No leader has been perfect, let’s not go into that because there are many skeletons in the closet and we want to make a new beginning.”
JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, on his turn, said that dialogue with PTI should continue but after accepting their resignations from the parliament. “Unanimity of the house should not be affected. A legal question could erupt so mist should be cleared about their resignations,” he warned the speaker. He further said PTI and PAT are on same agenda and their leaders have also shown their association.
Taking the floor, Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq rushed to clarify that he was examining the resignations. He said an FIR has also been registered against protesters for storming into the parliament. He also asked Qureshi and other PTI lawmakers to come to his chamber for verification of their resignations.
Whereas, ANP’s Abdul Nabi Bangash said the resignation issue of PTI members should be cleared now. QWP’s chief Aftab Sherpao, on his turn, came down hard on PTI chief Imran Khan for using derogatory language against assembly. “Imran is saying it’s fake assembly then why they are clarifying their point of view in this house,” he said, as he also mentioned the resignation of PTI lawmakers.
PkMAP chief Mehmood Achakzai said there was a need to pass a resolution against the attacks on the parliament and PTV. “This resolution should also carry signatures of PTI members as they have disassociated themselves from these attacks,” he said.
Earlier, ANP Senator Zahid Khan said political issues of the country could be resolved through dialogue, not by sit-ins. “We have also reservations on elections in KPK where our mandate was stolen but we accepted the results for continuation of democratic system,” he said, adding that political forces should support incumbent government for democracy. “What to talk about writ of government in Waziristan, there is no writ in Islamabad for some days,” he added.
National Party Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo said such long marches, which serve free meals three times a day, have never been witnessed before. “I have never seen such lavish long marches. Holding protest has become a tradition in this country,” he said and added “Illiteracy, joblessness and poverty are the main issues which need to be tackled.”
Earlier, lawmakers during the prayer break were seen engaged in chit chat with PTI lawmakers who were given chance to speak after the break. At some moment, harsh words were also exchanged between Zahid Hamid and Shah Mehmood Qureshi.