ISLAMABAD -  The idea of an intra-institutional dialogue floated by Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani seems to have fizzled out before it takes off as major parliamentary parties in the Upper House of the Parliament have not yet been taken on board for the initiation of the conversation.

The proposal floated by the Senate chairman seems to die down in the future after major political entities termed it a ‘strange stuff’. Interestingly, Rabbani’s own Pakistan People’s Party also disowned the idea terming it his ‘personal initiative’.

In the last sitting of the especially requisitioned Senate session on August 10, Rabbani had got an approved from the House a proposal for the initiation of an inter-institutional dialogue among the judiciary, the military establishment, the executive and the Parliament to help ‘remodel’ their respective contours and avoid a clash in the wake of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the Panama Papers case.

After getting approval from the Upper House, the Senate Chairman Office has not yet started any consultations with major political parties in the House to finalize the course of action to initiate talks between the institutions.

Earlier, Rabbani had said that the Senate would write to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to invite the judiciary to be part of the dialogue and the prime minister to invite the judiciary and the military establishment for the exercise with the Senate playing the role of a facilitator.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that his party had neither been invited by the chairman office to decide the modus operandi of the proposed dialogue nor any such consultations had been started. The PPP is the biggest (opposition) party in the 104-member Upper House.

Muttahida Quami Movement Parliamentary leader in Senate Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi also said that consultations on the initiation of the dialogue had yet to be started. “Perhaps the Senate chairman would talk about the proposal in the next sitting of the House starting from August 21 or in the Business Advisory Committee meeting to be held next week,” he said.

He said that the proposed dialogue might be a time-consuming exercise and take a year to finalize the recommendations. The senator further said that his party would support the dialogue. He said that the dialogue could also be started through the Committee of the Whole House but the procedure would be finalized once the Senate chairman would take all the parties into confidence.

Some officials of the Senate Secretariat believe that Rabbani has gone on the back foot over his own proposal after seeing the lacklustre response from his own party. The PPP views that Rabbani’s opinion was not the party’s view as its leader Aitzaz Ahsan represents the PPP in the Upper House as the Leader of the Opposition.

The ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif in his Lahore address, at the culmination of a four-day-long GT Road rally, had endorsed the idea of Rabbani and said that his party would become part of the dialogue.

The former premier earlier had also asked to start a national dialogue among the political leadership to end the imbalance in civil-military relations to avoid the clash of institutions. 

In an interview with BBC Urdu, Sharif said that he alone was not responsible for a clash among state institutions, hinting that the army and the judiciary should also play their due role to determine their respective jurisdictions.