Wednesday, December 13, 2017

NA session adjourned due to lack of quorum for third day in a row

Deadlock between government, opposition persists over FATA reforms

ISLAMABAD: For the third day in a row on Wednesday, the National Assembly (NA) session was adjourned due to a shortage of lawmakers.

When the parliamentary session, which was chaired by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, started Wednesday morning, only 30 out members were present in the house: 16 from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), including SAFRON Minister Abdul Qadir Baloch and 14 members of the opposition.

The lack of the required 86-member quorum in the 342-seat house was pointed out by Federally Administered Tribal Areas MNA Alhaj Shahjee Gul Afridi.

The government has 188 members in the assembly, the number reaches 217 including political allies of the ruling party. On the other hand, the opposition comprises 114 members.

However, the government fails to ensure quorum which has a negative impact on national treasury and parliamentary affairs of the country, according to the opposition members.

Govt, opposition deadlock over FATA reforms

The deadlock between the government and the opposition over FATA Reforms Bill continued after the opposition members refused to budge from their demand.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s MNA Naveed Qamar remarked during Wednesday's session that the Parliament was disrespected by taking out FATA Reforms Bill from the assembly agenda. 

However, NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq pleaded with Qamar to not walk out but Qamar replied: “We will continue to stage walkouts till the FATA reforms bill is presented in the assembly.”

Qamar added that he is steadfast in the decision made by the opposition and he will stage a walkout.

Weighing in on the matter, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed asked why the government is not presenting the bill.

“It is known across the world that Daesh is making its way into Afghanistan. It is also being said that Daesh is building their network in Pakistan,” he remarked, adding “why isn't the government presenting the bill?”

"The parliament should not be insulted due to the actions of just two parties," he said, referring to PML-N allies Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party which are opposing the merger of FATA with KP.  

As the opposition was staging a walkout, MNA Afridi pointed towards a lack of quorum in the assembly. The NA speaker then delayed the session for some time, but after it resumed the quorum was not met and the session was adjourned until 10:30am Thursday morning (tomorrow). 

Govt drops FATA reforms bill from agenda

On Tuesday, the opposition staged a walkout in the National Assembly after the government failed to table a bill pertaining to reforms in the tribal areas.

During the assembly session, chaired by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah criticised the callous attitude of the government regarding the bill.

He remarked that the government is not serious about the implementation of the FATA Reforms Bill.

"Seventy years have passed, we must work towards solving the problems of people of FATA," he said, adding “we hope that FATA Reforms Bill is part of the assembly agenda tomorrow [Wednesday].”

“Our stance was very clear, if you don’t do this [table the bill] then it is an insult of the Parliament,” he said, adding “we want the Parliament to be respected.”

After the opposition walked out, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Hamid-ul-Haq pointed out the lack of a quorum due to which the session was adjourned.

Meeting with PM on Friday

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab informed the house that the prime minister has invited on Friday parliamentary leaders of all parties.

Meanwhile, a committee comprising leaders of opposition parties has been formed to negotiate with the government over the matter.

The recommendations to bring FATA at par with the rest of the country were approved by the federal cabinet on March 2.