ISLAMABAD: The Senate in its proceedings on Tuesday continued to resound with the controversy over the Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial’s remarks that “the country just had one honest prime minister”.
The ruling coalition lawmakers also objected to the ‘clarification’ issued by the Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Barrister Shehzad Ata Elahi, as the law minister defended its saying that he was present in the courtroom and no adverse remarks about honesty of prime ministers in the country had been uttered.
Not san AGP’s Place
Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani if the AG ‘dared to clarify the proceedings of the house ?’ He said the AGP should have defended the parliament when it was being whipped by the judiciary.
The Senator said the house must take serious exception to the letter written by the AGP to clarify the position of the chief justice.
The Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar pointed AGP was present in the courtroom and as the principal law officer, was part of the government. He added that neither he nor Mr Rabbani was there in the court in a bid to not only bring on record the AGP’s statement but also to clarify the recent remarks by the chief justice.
The PPP senator, however, was of the opinion that the letter should not be placed on record of the house.
The senator Rabbani said the AGP had the privilege to attend proceedings of both houses of parliament, but was not a member of the house. “He cannot control the proceedings of the house. He cannot talk on behalf of this house. He cannot issue a clarification on behalf of this house. Let it be very clear.”
The law minister noted that the AGP had ‘not commented’ but ‘just clarified’. “If someone has done it with good intentions, there is no need for his criticism,”
Mr Rabbani however loudly exclaimed that, “He had no right”, and stressed that a clarification should have been issued by the Supreme Court registrar.
Mr Tarar exhorted, that “The institutions belong to all of us. We should move forward instead of complicating things.”
The other Senators
Senator Irfan ul Haque Siddiqui of PML-N said the CJP had no right to declare the country’s prime ministers dishonest, referring to his comment about ‘one honest prime mnister.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, the PTI senator Dr Shahzad Wasim said the chief justice also spoke about incomplete parliament and this should also be discussed.
He said a majority was turned into a minority under a ‘conspiracy’ through the worst kind of horse-trading. He said if the government really respected the judiciary, it should also respect the Constitution.
“Why the dates for general elections to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies are not being announced,” he asked.
“Is Lahore High Court not a court? Why are you not implementing its order for immediate holding of elections in Punjab?” he questioned. He also criticised the government for giving “NRO to itself by making controversial amendments” to the accountability law.
At this, the law minister reminded him of the SC observation that the PTI had deliberately quit the assemblies and it should have taken part in the NA proceedings when the NAB amendment bill landed in the house.
The Senate chairman intended to open the question hour session, but many members from both the sides rose to speak, compelling the chair to abruptly prorogue the house sine die.