ISLAMABAD - The federal government in yesterday’s National Assembly session came under fierce criticism for not properly taking the parliament into confidence on important national matters.
Opposition leader Khursheed Shah, criticizing the PM’s absence from parliament and not sharing the recent LNG deal with Qatar, remarked that whenever the parliament was not given its due importance a conspiracy was hatched against it.
The house, on the first day of the session called on the requisition of opposition parties, witnessed thin presence of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
The house, on a motion moved by Syed Naveed Qamar, started discussion on the situation arising out of the non-reduction in oil prices according to the falling prices in international market.
Taking the floor on point of order, Khursheed Shah blamed the government for continuously ignoring parliament on important national decisions. “Whenever the parliament is not given its due importance, a conspiracy is hatched against it,” he remarked, expressing serious concerns over the LNG deal and government’s alleged apathy towards the parliament.
Shah demanded of the government to explain why the Parliament has not been taken in confidence over the LNG deal with Qatar worth $16 billion. “Weak democracy is thousand times better than dictatorship,” said the opposition leader.
Criticizing the government for not taking important decision in parliament, Shah said the incumbent government only takes help from parliament whenever it faces difficult time.
“You (government) rush towards parliament whenever face difficult time,” he said ostensibly giving reference of anti-government sit-ins of PTI and PAT, when the government ran longest ever joint session of the parliament.
“Lawmakers are kept in dark on the LNG deal,” he said adding that treasury benches passed a bill in haste for paving way for PIA’s privatization. “Opposition was not in parliament when this controversial bill was passed in parliament,” he added.
“The government has passed bill in haste,” he said criticizing the use of force against protesting PIA employees in which two employees had lost their lives.
About the PIA privatization, he said the national flag carrier (PIA) had suffered a loss of Rs8 billion in year 2008 whereas Rs12 billion loss was shown in year 2001.
He said that PIA was getting revenue of Rs116 billion in 2011 and only in four years it dropped down to Rs91 billion in 2015. “PIA suffered a loss of Rs25 billion from 2011 to date,” he said and posed a question for not raising the revenue by increasing PIA’s aeroplanes.
He said the former government’s agreement pertaining to LNG was transparent but ex-chief justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry did not let the government go through with the deal. Shah also said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) did not snatch ‘bread from labourers’ mouth’ during its tenure.
Responding to a calling attention notice moved by opposition member Imran Zafar Leghari and others, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said that the Punjab government had assured that national heritage will not be harmed due to construction in the surroundings of Orange Train.
To another call-attention notice about highest stillbirth rate in the country, State Minister of State for Ministry of National Health Saira Fazl Tarar said that around 2.5 lac died during the maternity cases. “There is need of research in this field,” she said.
At the outset of the proceedings, newly elected member NA Makhdoom Saeed-uz-Zaman took oath.