ISLAMABAD - The treasury and opposition benches on the first day of 41st National Assembly session could not reach consensus to initiate formal debate on the Bhoja Airline crash tragedy, as the largest opposition party (PML-N) opted to boycott the proceeding after a verbal brawl.
The legislators from both the sides consumed most of the time to ensure a unanimous view to start debate on the plane, as the opposition strongly criticised the formation of a commission to probe into the incident, saying the body was not a ‘judicial’ commission.
The opposition said the commission was consisting of controversial and blue-eyed boys of the incumbent government.
When the consensus could not be evolved on the issue, PPP Chief Whip Khursheed Shah, in a bid to defuse tension, offered the opposition to suggest a name for new commission, as it would be accommodated.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the government had no intention to hide the facts. “There is no need to be apologetic on this matter; it’s a national tragedy,” he said, adding that there was a need to express solidarity from both sides.
“What kind of message we would give to national community if such a discussion is made here. These incidents do occur around the world and our government took an immediate rescue and relief operation after the incident,” Gilani said.
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said why non-controversial personalities were not included in the commission.
“Whenever a committee or commission is constituted why controversial figures are included in it. Why they choose PCO judges and don’t have others,” he said, adding that there was no need to indulge in point scoring as the fact behind the AirBlue tragedy should also be shared with masses.
“This incident (Bhoja crash) should not be related with the AirBlue tragedy,” he said, adding that the reports of both the incidents should be shared with the masses.
Clarifying the formation of commission in this incident, Law Minister Farooq H Naek said the relatives of the victims had no objection on the commission.
But Nisar negated his arguments and said the body could not be termed as judicial commission. He further demanded time frame for the commission. “We would not be part of the debate if our concerns are not observed,” he added.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said things would be ascertained after decoding the black box, adding that it was not easy to give final timeframe, as it could take some time. He said the inquiry report of the Airblue had been made public and placed on website.
Nisar once again took the floor and said they were not sitting in the house to only listen speeches of the treasury members. “He (Kaira) is making emotional speech just to confirm his job.”
In his response, Kaira strongly criticised Nisar. “If we respect our senior than same we demand from them. We are not here to please anyone,” he said, adding that he had all the right to defend his party but personal attacks were not acceptable.
In the middle of his speech, the PML-N members left the house without announcing a proper boycott.
Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr Farooq Sattar the MQM presented adjournment motion in the National Assembly for the sake of saving the precious lives in future.
Earlier, the MQM members also staged token walkout when their adjournment motion was not discussed. The house business advisory committee meeting was not held before the session, which made confusion about the agenda item.