ISLAMABAD - Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Senator Azam Khan Swati has emerged as a trouble-shooter of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the Senate when it comes to bring the temperatures of the house down in the presence of some firebrands of both sides of aisle.

Senator Swati who in the past had to give up his ministry twice, once during the last Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) regime and secondly during his own party’s rule, amid some controversies has now assumed a different role in the Upper House with his cool temper and non-controversial posture.

From issues of foreign ministry to finance and interior, the parliamentary affairs minister can be seen in the house responding queries in the opposition-dominated house and on many occasions, he gets applause from the Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani.

The opposition for a number of times in the house points out that the ministers and advisers to the prime minister remain absent from the house though they are bound to answer questions of their ministries and departments concerned and Senator Swati cannot satisfy them to the core. However, the minister always takes shelter under the constitutional provision that cabinet shall be “collectively responsible” to the Senate and the National Assembly.

Swati always succeeds to calm down opposition’s heavyweights like Raza Rabbani, Sherry Rehman and Mushahid Ullah Khan

At the same time, he always succeeds to calm down the opposition’s heavy weights like PPP’s Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and Senator Ms Sherry Rehman and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan that the ministers should come in the house and he would convey the message of the chair to the Prime Minister Imran Khan that the ministers and advisors should be present in the house.

The Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan Swati who one day was called as “Shaikh Aftab Ahmed of PTI” by an opposition lawmaker also had to answer questions in connection with the departments and ministries supervised by over half a dozen special assistants to the prime ministers.

Shaikh was the parliamentary affairs minister during the last PML-N regime and was also known for his cool, calm and friendly posture and had the art of giving answers of every ministry on the floor of any house of the parliament.

Under the constitution, special assistants are not part of prime minister’s cabinet and they cannot make their way into either house of the parliament. The special assistants to PM on information & broadcasting, national health services, accountability & interior, and overseas Pakistanis hold the charge of very important ministries.

The opposition recently had made a demand in the Senate that Prime Minister Imran Khan should appoint full-time federal minister on health instead of special assistant so that he or she could brief the house about the measures taken by the government to prevent outbreak of deadly coronavirus.

The PTI which is relatively a new party in the parliament as compared to the other major parties who now are in the opposition and has some diehard loyalists of PM Imran Khan who don’t spare opposition any time when their party or the party leader is criticized on the floor by them.

In the last Senate session that was prorogued on March 4, the treasury and the opposition came close to blows when PML-N’s parliamentary leader Mushahid Ullah criticized prime minister and PTI lawmaker Faisal Javed Khan, a loyalist of PM, impatiently reacted over this criticism.

At such moments, it is Senator Swati who tried to bring the atmosphere of the house to normal position and pacified not only the opposition but the firebrand lawmakers of the treasury side as well.