ISLAMABAD - Chairman Senate Mohammad Sadiq Sanjrani observed on Tuesday that National Assembly Committee constituted to probe the allegations of rigging in general elections 2018 cannot be called as parliamentary committee without representation from the Senate.

The Chairman assured the members of the Upper House that he will talk to the Speaker National Assembly on this issue.

His remarks followed the statement of the Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Khan, to address the concerns of Senators regarding non-inclusion of members of the Upper House in the parliamentary committee of the National Assembly to probe rigging in the recent general elections.

The Minister said no legislation can be made without Senate’s cooperation and added that PTI keeps the Senate at the highest esteem and parliament is not complete without Senate.

He said the government accepted opposition’s demand of giving equal representation to the opposition and the treasury benches. However, chairman of the committee will be from the treasury benches.

Earlier, the former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani like other colleagues complained that senators should not have been excluded from the body.

Recalling that it had been the Senate that first demanded a probe into election rigging, Mian Raza Rabbani said it would have been more appropriate had a committee of the whole house (drawn from the Senate and National Assembly) been formed on the issue.

The opposition in the Senate had previously demanded that the upper house of parliament also be given representation in the committee.

"The purpose of a parliamentary committee is to have representatives from both houses," Rabbani said on Tuesday, adding that the committee formed was not a 'parliamentary committee' but a 'house committee'. "The first session of the National Assembly has shaken the unity and supremacy of parliament," Rabbani regretted.

He also criticised the government for excluding senators based on the argument that the Senate had no stake in the general election.  Rabbani said that by saying so, the foreign minister had besmirched the Constitution.

"Another black mark was also left on parliamentary tradition," Rabbani added.

"The Senate will not be compelled to approve the recommendations made by this committee," he warned.

The senator also criticised the delay in presidential elections, which he noted were held after the mandated 30 days.

He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan had violated the Constitution with this failure and a privilege motion should be moved against it. On the other hand , members of the Senate have called for steps to get rid of the growing circular debt and to end electricity theft.

Starting the debate on Senate’s special committee report regarding Circular Debt, Javed Abbasi said previous government of the PML-N added eleven thousand megawatt of electricity to the national grid and paid off circular debt of 500 billion rupees, it had inherited in 2013. He hoped that the PTI government will add twelve thousand megawatt of electricity to the system at the end of its tenure, along with elimination of circular debt.

Jahanzeb Jamaldini stressed on the need of better command and control system to end circular debt.

He said solar energy should be encouraged to fulfill power needs of the country, especially in Balochistan.

Rehman Malik said 25 percent electricity theft is recorded and power thieves should be punished. He said action should be taken against those, who let the circular debt surge.  Sirajul Haq called for a strong accountability and reward system to check circular debt.

Noman Wazir and Shamim Khan Afridi also spoke on the subject matter.

Later the House, adopted the report. 

Opposition Senators have expressed dissatisfaction over the mini budget presented by the PTI government.

Speaking on the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the House, the lawmakers said enhanced gas prices will not only affect the common man, but also increase cost of fertilizers in the country. They urged the government to bring the change it had promised to the people of Pakistan in its election manifesto.

The Senators called for steps to safeguard interests of farmers and cotton industry of the country. They said steps should also be taken to increase exports and bring foreign investment for strengthening of country’s economy.