ISLAMABAD: The PML-N’s senior leader and former prime minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said Monday the Sindh-based PPP violated the parliamentary rules through its latest actions.
Earlier, the PPP’s candidate Yousaf Raza Gillani had been elected as the leader of the Opposition in the Senate against PML-N’s Azam Nazeer Tarar, who was termed a “controversial” choice by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
The move had deepened the rifts between Pakistan’s two major parties, with PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz Sharif criticising the PPP for sacrificing everything for a “minor, inconsequential office.”
Speaking to the media here in Islamabad, Abbasi congratulated the PPP for Gillani being elected Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
Some 57 senators wrote that they were in the Opposition, the former PM noted, adding that a no-confidence motion should be initiated against the Senate chairman at the first opportunity.
“A bench with the government’s members could not be called the Opposition,” he remarked.
The PML-N leader advised the PPP to launch a no-confidence motion in order to take back the Senate chairman’s seat that he claimed was won through a “stolen election”.
Independent members, he added, had given in writing that they were members of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).
“We are ready to go along with those who pay heed to the principles of the Parliament, democracy, and the PDM,” he said, referring to the Opposition’s anti-government coalition under the Pakistan Democratic Movement.
Abbasi said the decision to make the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate was taken at his house and that all parties know about it.
The sub-committee made its decision on the Senate’s deputy chairman and the Leader of the Opposition in two minutes, he said, adding that if its news had not reached the PPP, the party should ask the members who were present there.
Speaking about Asad Qaiser, Abbasi said the politician should explain if he was the speaker of the National Assembly for everyone or just the PTI regime.
“Asad Qaiser knows well that he has lost the Opposition’s trust and the Opposition is no longer willing to listen to him or go to any committee [meeting],” he stated.
The PML-N leader said Prime Minister Imran Khan and his ministers uttered abuses while in the House. “Did the [National Assembly] Speaker not listen to the PM’s speech which he made after winning a ‘fake’ vote of confidence,” he asked.
“There’s a rule not to talk about someone who is not in the House,” he added.
The former prime minister said the Leader of the House should come and explain the electoral reforms he needed. “What electoral reforms can be there in a country where the prime minister insults the Opposition?
“The government kept bringing in ordinance upon ordinance. Does it not trust the parliament,” he questioned.
Abbasi added that the Speaker should apologise to the Opposition. The House, he noted, could only function when these things were implemented.
The PML-N leader demanded that “they should first promise not to pick up the presiding officer, steal votes, or install cameras in the Senate … they should repent and they should vow not to appoint government senators as Opposition leaders”.
“Reports, including the Broadsheet [LLC case], were only made to cover up the culprits. The facts of the Broadsheet [case] are very clear,” he said.
“The chairman of the NAB [National Accountability Bureau] made deals and the institution of accountability itself has become [one that needs to be held] accountable.
“The facilitators and those who seek commissions should be nabbed,” he added.