ISLAMABAD - The Opposition on Tuesday staged a walkout in the Senate to mark its protest against the “extra-constitutional” step of the federal government what it said that the centre wanted to take control of coastal areas owned by Sindh and Balochistan.

The walkout was staged soon after former Chairman Senate and PPP stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani spoke on admissibility of a privilege motion against the promulgation of Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance. He accused the federal government of usurping the rights of federating units through promulgation of this ordinance and remarked that the state itself was depriving its units of their properties. 

“The rights of the indigenous population, the fishermen of coastal areas of these provinces are being usurped through this legislation,” he also said.

Rabbani said that the federal government was violating Article 89 of the Constitution by not laying the ordinance before the parliament. He said the ordinance promulgated in August was published in the official gazette on September 2, but had not been laid before the house for the fear of facing a disapproval resolution.

The PPP lawmaker pointed out that the centre had an eye on more than 300 islands of Sindh and alleged that it was playing a game to benefit its cronies in the name of development.  He questioned the government for its complete control over Riko Diq Project in Baluchistan and said, “What would you call a centre trying to gobble up properties of its federation units”.

He also said that tourism was a provincial subject now under the 18th amendment. He referred to the Article 152 of the Constitution and said that the promulgation of the ordinance was a violation of the Constitution because no agreement had been reached with the province on the issue.

“This extra-constitutional step is pushing the country towards One Unit, in one form or the other, which is a dangerous tendency,” he warned while peeping into Pakistan’s political history. Stressing that it was a clear case of breach of privilege, he asked the Chair to admit the motion.