ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the major opposition parties, Thursday in the Senate demanded removal of Governor Sindh Imran Ismail for his remarks about division of the province.

A recent statement of the governor Sindh about dividing the province into administrative units drew criticism mainly from the PPP, who has a power base in Sindh, as a number of its lawmakers spoke on points of public importance on the issue. Their speeches generated a heated debate in the house on the issue.

PPP Senator Sassui Palijo was the first one in the house who raised the matter followed by her party colleague Senator Raza Rabbani.

Rabbani condemning the statement of the governor reminded the house that governor had no role in the administrative set-up of the province under the constitution except that he represents the federation. “The Governor Sindh after taking oath of his office is behaving as he is the chief minister of the province,” he said.

PML-N, PPP claim Imran Ismael is talking about dividing province on administrative grounds

Former chairman Senate Rabbani asserted that Senate wouldn’t tolerate either the division of Sindh or any other change in the present administrative units that have been described in the constitution. “How did the governor dare to talk about division of the province whom he represents himself?”

He argued that the PTI government has earlier initiated a debate on the introduction of presidential form of government, rollback of 18th Constitutional Amendment. Now its representative talks for division of Sindh, he said, accused that the government was making efforts to dismantle the fundamentals of constitution.

The PPP stalwart said that even President Dr Arif Alvi, the appointing authority of governor, himself was in the habit of issuing some “controversial” statements as he in a recent interview said that there was no harm in replacing “the present parliament form of government with that of presidential.”

The person (President) who is part of the parliament under article 50 of Constitution himself is attacking the parliamentary system, he deplored. Similarly, another representative of PTI — Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Shah Farman — has also said that compromises have to be made in parliamentary system, he said.

“The Upper House demands that whoever wants to talk about division of Sindh should first resign,” Rabbani said adding that his remarks were part of the strategy of the present government to make issues out of non-issues to divert the focus from real problems.

The parliamentary leader of PPP in the house Senator Sherry Rehman followed the suit and demanded resignation of governor Sindh. “On what basis governor is asking for division of Sindh,” she said. She said that credibility of government was falling like house of cards with each passing day and it looked that next election was around.

Former law minister and PPP Senator Maula Bux Chandio said that this was a matter of their existence. He added that PTI should tell whether governor’s statement was the party’s stance or not? He termed PTI an ethnic party what he said like MQM.

Another PPP lawmaker Gianchand said that this should be explained whether a conspiracy against Sindh was being hatched from Prime Minister Office and someone has done this at its own. His party colleagues including Senator Keshoo Bai sought an apology from governor for his remarks and Senator Behrmand Khan Tangi demanded resignations of both governors of Sindh and KP.

Parliamentary leader of PML-N in the Senate Mushahidullah also endorsed the views of PPP lawmakers and said that the position of governor was a non-political and he could not talk like this. He also demanded immediate removal of Ismail.

A treasury member MQM Senator Ateeq Shaik exchanged hot words with PPP Senator Palijo when the former gave a justification that everyone supports creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces out of Punjab and Hazara province out of KP but criticism comes when one talks about division of Sindh. PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan also endorsed that new provinces could be created on administrative but not on ethnic basis. He in his remarks also hurled allegations on PPP what he said that the party itself was responsible for diving the country in the past.

On his remarks, PPP lawmakers walked out from the house and did not return till adjournment of the sitting.

PTI lawmaker Walid Iqbal said that the constitution provided procedure for the creation of new provinces. “Someone could not be labelled as traitor only on the basis of his views,” he said adding that the demand of a new province was not unconstitutional. About the presidential system, he said that the present assemblies could not bring a change in the form of government because this was mandate of the constituent assembly.

No one from the government responded over the issue. The house also discussed the Annual Report of the National Commission for Human Rights for the year 2017 and eight lawmakers spoke on it for 55 minutes. The debate will remain continue on it in next sitting.

During the question-hour session, State Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar said that the parliament would be taken into confidence on the conditions of International Monetary Fund (IMF). He told the house that the IMF delegation wanted to meet the parliamentary leaders but no one from the opposition benches except one lawmaker turned up despite the fact that the government had extended an initiation to all. “Only (PPP MNA) Naveed Qamar and (Leader of the House in the Senate) Shibli Faraz attended the meeting,” he said.