ISLAMABAD - The opposition in the Senate Tuesday refused to become part of the discussion on the no-confidence motion against Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani and said that it wanted to take up the matter in a regular session summoned on August 1 for this purpose.

The opposition’s refusal prompted the chairman Senate to prorogue the session soon after he read out operating part of his ruling on the controversy whether no-confidence against him could be moved in a requisitioned session or not?

On the outset of the requisitioned session summoned by Sanjrani, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said that opposition did not want to hold a debate on the motion of ‘resolution regarding removal of chairman’ under Rule 218 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate 2012, that is part of the day’s agenda. “There is neither any room for such a discussion in the rules, nor would we participate in it”, he remarked and requested the chair to prorogue the house.

Referring to the opposition’s requisition submitted with the Senate Secretariat along with a no-trust motion, the opposition leader said that the chair wrote a letter to it claiming that a no-trust motion cannot be moved in a requisitioned session.

Says matter to be taken up in a regular session on August 1

“We had had given our rejoinder to the letter,” he said adding but instead of proceeding with their request, the agenda included a discussion of motion on no-trust under Rule 218. He said that President has already summoned a session on August 1 for a voting on the no-confidence motion and the matter should be taken up in that session.

Amid opposition’ slogans of ‘no, no’, Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz contrary to the opposition’s expectations rose from his seat and only thanked leader of the opposition. “We highly value the remarks in order to uphold the honour of the house,” he said.

In his ruling, Sanjrani said that suspicions were being expressed on the procedure to grant leave to move motions for removal of chairman Senate and deputy chairman Senate from their offices and especially to summon the session under Article 54 (3) of the Constitution to move these motions.

He stressed that under sub rules 1 and 2 of the Rule 12 of the Rules of the Senate, a notice of motion seeking to move a resolution to remove chairman or deputy chairman of the Senate can only be given during an ongoing session of the Senate.

He further said that according to the chair’s February 10, 2016 ruling and sub rules 1 and 2 of Rule 12, the session could not have been requisitioned for moving a no-confidence resolution against chairman or deputy chairman Senate. He said the permission to move a no-trust motion in Tuesday’s session has not been granted because of the same reason.

Chairman Senate went on to say that despite the fact that the notice for motion to seek permission for  removal of chairman Senate did not fulfil conditions of Rule 12, he allowed  circulation of notices to the members under the same rule only keeping in mind the sanctity and objectivity  of chairman Senate’s position. “I did this because recent negative propaganda was not only causing damage to a personality but to the impartial position of chairman Senate as well as Senate of Pakistan which is the representative of federating units.”

Sanjrani further said that he also wrote to the Mister of Parliamentary Affairs to send a summary to the President to summon the session under clause 1of Article 54 of Constitution to bring these motions on the agenda despite the fact that no such rules existed in the Rules of Senate. “I did this according to my conscience because I wanted to fail efforts aimed at weakening the position of chairman Senate and the Senate,” he said adding that he was making his utmost efforts to uphold the supremacy of Constitution, rules, rulings of the chairs and for the survival of Senate.

Concluding his ruling, the chair directed the Senate Secretariat not to make precedence of this extraordinary procedure adopted with regard to these notices seeking leave to move no-trust motions and strictly implement upon Rule 12 of Rules of Senate, standing orders and rulings of the chair in future.

Talking to reporters after the session, former Chairman Senate and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker Mian Raza Rabbani said their no-trust motion pertained to vomiting on resolution of no-confidence and not under Rule 218. He said that they had a principal stand that no-confidence motion could be taken up in the requisitioned session but this motion could not be discussed under Rule 218.

He said the motion seeking leave for moving a no-confidence motion would be on agenda when the house meets on August 1.

According to the Senate Secretariat, both the motions against chairman and deputy chairman Senate will be on the agenda for August 1 session. An official of the secretariat said that a letter will be written to President Dr Arif Alvi with the request to nominate a member of the house to chair the session on the day as both would not be able to chair.