ISLAMABAD - After a severe conflict on rescheduling of presidential election between treasury and opposition benches, both Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) are now on the verge of locking horns on distribution of parliamentary bodies and issue of changes to the 18th Constitutional Amendment.
The PPP with the expected support of its allied factions has chalked out a strategy to give a tough time to the ruling clique (PML-N) after Eid-ul-Fitr on various issues including distribution of parliamentary standing committees, which have been pending for a couple of weeks.
The PML-N government owing to late start of the process of formation of the standing committees had missed deadline on 5th July but now availing the cushion to get this delay condoned, it would be announced in National Assembly (NA) session, which is scheduled to meet on August 13. Both the parties (PPP and PML-N) despite many parleys could not reach a consensus as former ruling party is continuously flaunting reservations on giving them a small chunk.
“The PPP as per its size in the National Assembly is demanding headship of four standing committees, while the PML-N wants to give them chairmanship not more than two bodies,” sources in PPP shared wit The Nation.
The PPP’s senior legislators arguing with PML-N if religio-political party, JUI-F, with the strength of an almost a dozen members could hold one committee chairmanship then PPP on the same ratio should be given more than four committee’s control.
In this regard, sources said, PML-N’s Sheikh Aftab also held a detailed meeting with leader of opposition in the national assembly but final formula could not be decided due to reservations from opposition side.
Sources said the PPP and other opposition parties, whose share for committee chairmanships have still not decided, are likely to jointly give tough time to the ruling party PML-N.
On the other side, the commitment of the PML-N government for ensuring parliamentary supremacy could be gauged by the fact that the last date for election of chairpersons of 28 standing committees of the National Assembly and one special committee lapsed with no practical steps on it.
The National Assembly Secretariat around a month ago received choices and proposal of all the parliamentary parties for NA standing committees and its formal announcement for making these committees functional in the session.
According to the rule 200 (Rules of procedure of business in NA), “Except and otherwise provided in these rules, each committee shall consist of not more than 17 members to be elected by the assembly within 30 days after the ascertainment of the Leader of the House.” Following this rule, the 30 days for the formation had expired on 5th July but now it will be announced taking the cushion to get this delay condoned.
The sources said that ruling clique might not share the headship of four major committees, including standing committee on foreign affairs with other parliamentary parties.
It is relevant to mention here that NA Secretariat has almost finalised the formula for the allocation of chairmanship of the standing committees of the NA to the parliamentary parties. According to the set formula, the ruling party PML-N has 184 members in the House so its share is around 60 per cent. The party may get 17 headships of committees out of 25. The second largest party PPP with its 14 per cent share might able to hold chairmanship of only four standing committees.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) being a third largest party will be able to get not more than three headships of NA standing committees. Likewise, MQM and JUI-F will get chairmanship of one or two each. The sources said that the other hot issue, which is most likely to be emerged after Eid-ul-Fitr, would be regarding expected changes in 18th Amendment of the Constitution.
It is relevant to mention here that Leader of opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Syed Khursheed Shah had conveyed that opposition would strongly resist if any attempt was made to take away powers from provinces by changing the18th Amendment of the Constitution.
Earlier, PPP’s Coordinator Human Right Cell had expressed grave concern on the decision of the PML-N’s government to do away with the ministry of human rights and has called for its restoration.