ISLAMABAD - The national assembly on Wednesday adopted a resolution to extend PPO 2014 for another 120 days amid severe uproar of opposition parties, which staged a walkout from the proceeding.
Before staging the walkout as a mark of protest, the opposition parties unanimously termed the Protection of Pakistan Ordinance (PPO) a direct attack on fundamental rights of citizens.
Though the government comfortably succeeded in getting passed its resolution in absence of opposition members, yet it faced lot of criticism from opposition parties during debate on law and order situation and call-attention notice related to Metro bus projects. The treasury benches, in an attempt to cool down the situation, assured opposition parties of not introducing any unlawful legislation in its tenure.
“PML-N government cannot even think of any legislation against the fundamental rights of people... The amendments proposed by opposition parties will also be incorporated in the bill,” said Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid, defending some clauses of PPO 2014.
Taking the floor, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah said the PPO is direct attack on fundamental rights the citizens. “We will stage a walkout against this legislation,” he maintained. PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked government to refrain from extending the PPO for another 120 days. “All political factions, human rights groups and civil society have reservations against this ordinance,” he said, adding that there was need to evolve consensus on this matter. MQM lawmaker Rashid Godil also expressed same kind of reservations against the ordinance.
The government benches also quickly passed a resolution about extending in Gas (theft control and recovery) ordinance, 2014. The House also saw heated discussion on call-attention notice about Metro Bus project which was being carried out ‘without approval of the Pakistan Environment Protection Agency’, and lawmakers from opposition parties gave tough time to State Minister Sheikh Aftab on this issue.
To a question posed by PPP lawmaker Shazia Marri about supply of iron goods for this mega project, Sheikh Aftab said that iron products of Pakistani Mills will be used in this project. “Iron supply will be from Pakistan, not from America,” he remarked, inviting lot of criticism from opposition members who started shouting ‘Loha-loha’ during minister’s speech. Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah said the federal government should also take steps for introducing Metro Bus service in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “It doesn’t matter if iron (products) is used from Ittefaq foundry or Pakistan Steel Mills,” he commented.
The House in its long sitting also witnessed verbal brawl between treasury and opposition benches during debate on law and order situation in the country. Responding to the points raised by AML chief Sheikh Rashid about peace talks, Railways Minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq said this important matter would take some time to resolve.
Asking the opposition parties to avoid politics of agitation, Saad said that such kind of matter could create dangerous situation in the country. “It was better for PTI to raise such demands in the House, as millions of rupees were spent for the security of PTI’s public gathering,” he added. PkMAP chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai said, “Democracy is the solution of all the issues. PM should bring together generals, lawyers, journalists and others to deliberate how to take forward the democracy in the country.“
Earlier, the House adopted a unanimous resolution recommending the federal and provincial governments to conduct a national survey for children living and working in streets, on the occasion of visit of the Pakistan Street Children Team to the assembly. The resolution, moved by Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada, commended the Pakistani street children football team on winning Bronze medal in Street Child Football World Cup 2014 in Brazil.