ISLAMABAD - The powerful opposition in the Senate was defeated by the ruling party PML-N and its coalition partners in voting on Thursday over an adjournment motion seeking to discuss price spiral in the petroleum products.

The motion moved by Senator Zahid Khan of ANP was defeated for its merit of admissibility after Chairman Syed Nayar Hussain Bukhari sought House consent through voting in which the PPPP-led opposition ran short of one crucial vote required for the purpose in the House 104 members.

This spectacular development encouraged the treasury benches in the House that is run by the PPPP Chairman and Deputy Chairman, and exposed the fragility of the opposition which otherwise is claims overwhelming numerical majority.

The mover of the motion Zahid Khan sought to discuss the recent price hike in the petroleum products, which he believed, has not only affected the consumers but also added to the economic burden of the poor masses in the country.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq opposed the motion forcing the Chairman to put the matter before the House to decide through voting in which the opposition benches that mainly includes the PPPP, ANP, PML-Q and BNP (Awami) ran short of one vote of the required 26 votes to get the motion through for discussion as a matter of urgent public importance.

The House also witnessed two walkouts staged separately by the PPPP-led opposition as well as by the JUI (F). PPPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani through a Calling Attention Notice sought to draw attention of the Minister for Industries and Production to a matter of public importance about government proposals to privatize Pakistan Steel Mills Karachi.

He said that the proposal has been submitted to the Prime Minister for further action and said that people of Sindh would resist tooth and nail the government move in this regard and warned that people would block the national highway should the government tried to privatize Pakistan Steel Mills.

Another walkout cum boycott was staged by the two JUI (F) members after Hafiz Hamidullah rising on a point of order alleged massive rigging had taken place in the bye-elections held in Qilla Abdullah, Balochistan. He contented that the JUI (F) was forced to boycott Thursday’s proceedings of the Upper House after the Election Commission of Pakistan refused to look into JUI (F)’s complaints of rigging with sufficient evidence.

However, Lala Rauf Khan of PMAP, rejected these allegations saying there has been no report of rigging and JUI(F) was using it as face saving effort to avoid embarrassment over the defeat.

Speaking on a point of order in the Senate Thursday, PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the SC order to the government to draft legislation in respect of the Federal Service Tribunal and get it passed by the Parliament was tantamount to interference in the working of parliament and taking over the job of legislation by the Supreme Court.

Earlier, he said that the SC had taken over the functions of ECP by ordering a new schedule for Presidential election and now it was asking the Parliament to pass a certain law, he said adding that it was against the principle of separation of powers.

He said that the SC is independent but its independence was from the Executive and it could not be stretched too far to mean independence from the law and the Constitution. The SC, he said, is as much bound by the law and the Constitution as any other state organ. He also said that the SC had demonstrated a marked tendency to make laws and quoted from the court judgment delivered in March 2011 in the case of Deedar Hussain Shah, the former Chairman NAB.

Holding the appointment of Deedar Hussain Shah as ultra vires of the Constitution and against the spirit of the NAB law, he quoted the verdict, “We entertain no manner of doubt that anybody interested in making an honest and good appointments the office of Chairman NAB would not feel shy of consulting the CJ of Pakistan.” This expression of desire to be consulted in the appointment of Chairman amounted to legislation by the bench, he said.

He further said that lawyers’ bodies had also criticised the decision on this ground.

He said that the verdict created the impression as if non-consultation with CJP on the appointment of NAB chairman would render any decision less than honest and would not be regarded as a good decision.

He said that in the NAB law there is no reference to statutory consultation with the CJP in the matter of Chairman NAB appointment and any expression of desire to involve CJ in it is most surprising.

Farhatullah Babar said that time had come for the Parliament to rise and say no to any institution that sought to abridge the Parliament’s role and trespassed its domain against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.

The House also disposed of point of orders by Sadrad Yaqoob Nasir of PML-N about kidnapping for four medical doctors for ransom from in Loralai district and sought government intervention for their rescue with out further delay. Sughra Imam from PPPP sought to discuss the huge damages caused by the floods in Khenewal and Jhang district and other southern district of Punjab but the House of adjourned to meet again today.