ISLAMABAD - Senate members were shocked when Opposition Leader Aitzaz Ahsan revealed Thursday senators Raza Rabbani and Zahid Khan were receiving threats after raising their voice for treason proceedings against Pervez Musharraf.

Rabbani and Khan had received threatening letters apparently for demanding high treason proceedings against the former military ruler under Article 6 of the Constitution, Ahsan said on a point of order.

These anonymous letters were delivered to their Parliament address and contained abuses and threats of dire consequences, he said while adding the letters received Thursday also contained the name of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

The handwritten letters, received through the National Assembly and Senate secretariats, pressured these senators to change their stance against Musharraf, Ahsan said as he called for a probe through a committee to track down the culprits.

Realizing the sensitivity of the issue, Senate chairman Nayyar Hussain Bukhari observed that the interior minister should be asked to order a probe into the matter.

Leader of the House, Raja Zafarul Haq, responding to the situation, said it was a serious matter and needed immediate attention indeed. He sought copies of the letters, and assured the House the matter would be taken care of to unearth the hidden hands. “I will take up this issue with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ask him to appoint a bold and honest officer who could investigate the matter without any pressure,” Haq stated before the House.  “We need to identify the culprits and bring them to justice.”

Upon this, Senate chairman Bukhari called a report into the matter next week, saying the interior minister be asked to proceed in accordance with the law and also inform the House what actions the government had been taking to ensure security to the senators.

Raza Rabbani, PPP’s parliamentary leader in Senate, informed the House he received first letter ten days ago asking him to review his stance or he would be assassinated or kidnapped. Zahid Khan and Ishaq Dar were also warned to mend their ways in the second letter, he added.

Zahid Khan said his party workers and leadership had rendered supreme scarifies in the past and always opposed every dictatorial regime. He recalled that ANP leader Bashir Bilour and Mian Iftikhar Hussain’s son and his brother had also been targeted. He said the dictators had ruined this country, and only democracy was the best solution to all problems confronting the nation as well as the country. He said they would fully support the government for implementation of the Article 6 and bring the trial to its logical end.

Earlier during the question-hour, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said the prime minister enjoyed full powers under the Constitution and that he was not bound to get his decisions approved from the Cabinet.

Responding to supplementary questions, he said the premier being the chief executive was empowered to take decisions on his own; however‚ amendments could be made to curtail these powers, if Parliament desired so.

About delay in development of CDA sectors, Aftab said the government had issued clear-cut directives to Capital Development Authority to complete development projects within the given timeframe.

Later‚ the House resumed debate on fresh hike in prices of petroleum products‚ gas‚ electricity and essential items.

Kalsoom Parveen, initiating the debate‚ voiced concerns over the increase in prices of daily-use items, and said in present circumstances it had become difficult for the poor people to make both ends meet. She said hoarding was contributing to inflation and it was the responsibility of the authorities to take action against hoarders.

On his turn, Abdul Rauf opined the magistracy system be revived to keep a check on prices of essential commodities. Subsidy should be given on agricultural inputs and power tariff.

Ilyas Bilour said the government should reduce prices of petroleum prices in accordance with trend in the international market. He asked the ruling party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to fulfill the promises it had made during its election campaign.

Saeedul Hassan Mandokhel said law and order was the major issue facing the country and the government should take serious steps towards this end and try to attract foreign investment. He said tax reforms were also required to stabilise Pakistan’s economy.

Other senators, who participated in the debate, included Mohsin Khan Leghari‚ Abdul Haseeb Khan and Karim Ahmad Khawaja.

The House was adjourned till Friday.