ISLAMABAD: The opposition as well as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, a member of the ruling coalition, staged separate walkouts from Senate on Thursday to register their protest over the endless incidents of target killings in Karachi and imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan.
Speaking on a point of order soon after completion of the question hour, Haji Ghulam Ali of JUI-F drew attention of the house towards the continued violence in Karachi, saying no-one was safe in the city and the people were being killed on roads in broad daylight.
Referring to Balochistan, Ghulam Ali said that incidents of kidnapping for ransom and killings were still taking place in the province even after the imposition of governor’s rule.
When the JUI-F senators left the house, the BNP-A and PML-N also joined them. Whereas the BNP-A staged walkout on both issues, the PML-N senators said they were going out to register their protest only over the law and order situation in Karachi. The members returned to the house after a brief walkout.
Haji Ghulam Ali, however, took the floor again and called for lifting governor’s rule in Balochistan.
The JUI-F senator called for exposing the forces behind the dismissal of the democratically-elected government in Balochistan by using bodies.
All JUI-F and BNP-A senators walked out again, and did not come back this time.
When PML-N’s Syed Zafar Ali Shah suggested a joint sitting of parliament be convened on the Balochistan issue, the Leader of the House, Jahangir Badar, said that he would speak on the matter on Friday.
The MQM’s Tahir Mashhadi criticised law-enforcement agencies for failure to maintain law and order situation in Karachi. He was particularly particularly harsh on the Rangers, accusing its personnel of running marriage halls and turning a blind eye to bloodshed.
Mr Mashhadi then led his party colleagues to stage a token walkout over the killings in Karachi.
The PML-N’s Chaudhry Jaffar Iqbal criticised the MQM for staging the walkout while still being part of the ruling coalition at the centre and in Sindh. He asked the MQM to abandon its double-standards and leave the government.
Mr Mashhadi, who had returned to the house by then, categorically stated that his party would remain a partner in the Sindh government with the PPP.
He said it was true that the MQM did not have a say in the provincial government affairs, but it respected the mandate of the PPP.
The MQM senator said that when his party left the ruling coalition in Sindh, a minority government had come into existence. He was of the opinion that a minority government could not be good for the country as it always created chaos. When the MQM returned to the government, he said, this decision was widely welcomed. At the same time, he said the MQM should be given powers in Sindh since the party did not have the offices of the chief minister or the home minister.
Later, the house witnessed another walkout by PML-N members when the party’s minority Senator Kamran Michael expressed his anger over remarks of Interior Minister Rehman Malik asking terrorists to become non-Muslim if they could not stop terrorism.
Mr Michael called upon the minister to apologise for hurting sentiments of non-Muslims.
The Senate passed two bills: the Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2012, and the Pakistan Coinage (Amendment) Bill, 2012, before the acting chairman adjourned the house till Friday morning.