ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani yesterday said he is required to follow a set constitutional course before accepting the resignations of Muttahida Qaumi Movement senators, justifying the delay in the matter.

Handing down the ruling on the MQM senators resignations, the chairman said there was a set constitutional procedure of verifying the resignation of a member before its acceptance and he would have to check whether the resignations by MQM lawmakers were voluntary and wilfully tendered or not.

Almost two months back MQM legislators had tendered their resignations from National Assembly, Senate and Sindh Assembly to protest what they termed a partial operation by Rangers targeting their leaders and activists in Karachi.

Senate chairman said he would adopt the constitutional way to handle the issue. The MQM MPs, he added, had tendered resignations under protest so these could not be accepted without getting some clarification from them in-person.

Rabbani said upon receiving the resignations, National Assembly speaker and the Senate chairman must confirm they are tendered voluntarily. “It seems the resignations have been tendered in protest and in furtherance of a political agenda,” he held.

“Answers of several questions regarding the resignations of MQM lawmakers are still required,” he said, adding that he would complete all requisite legal and constitutional formalities before accepting the resignations.

During Monday’s house proceedings, the treasury benches were defeated over the move in the Upper House for shifting of Wapda House from Lahore to Islamabad while the matter of shifting of Pakistan Cricket Board main offices from Lahore to Islamabad was referred to the Functional Committee of Senate on devolution to take the input of other stakeholders on the matter of shifting of PCB to Islamabad.

During the course of discussion on derogatory remarks of Senator Ghous Mohammad Niazi the opposition senators staged walkout but later after the break for Mugharib prayers, when Senate chairman gave the ruling to expunge the remarks of Niazi, the member returned to the house.

Giving his reflection on the matter, Leader of Opposition Senator Ch Aitzaz Ahsan said that opposition has not staged walkout against the construction of Kalabagh Dam but they went out in protest to all what Senator Niazi had said. He further said that Kalabagh Dam could not be constructed without the consensus of all federating units.

Meanwhile Senate adopted three motions moved by PPP senator Farhatullah Babar and sent three bills it had already passed in March this year but could not be passed by the National Assembly within 90 days of its laying, to the Joint Sitting of Parliament.

The three bills referred to the Joint Sitting include The Privatization Commission (Amendment) Bill,, the anti Honor killing (amendment) Bill and the Anti-Rape Laws (Criminal Laws Amendment) Bill, all initially moved by PPP former Senator Sughra Imam and passed by the Upper House in March this year but not get through from National Assembly within 90 days of its laying.

Farhatullah Babar said that according to the ruling of the Chairman Senate given in August last if the motion is carried it will be mandatory for the President to summon the Joint Sitting without reference to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry or a summary form the Prime Minister.

The chairman ruling had said; “the procedure to be adopted once a request/ advise under clause (3) of Article 70 of the Constitution, 1973, read with relevant Rules of Procedure of either House, has been tendered by the Chairman or the Speaker of the Senate or the National Assembly, respectively, the President shall summon a joint sitting with the sole purpose of taking into consideration the Bill or Bills so referred. While coming to a conclusion on the date of such summoning, he may or may not, seek the advice of the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, to the extent of the date of such summoning, only”.