Gilani resigns as leader of opposition in Senate
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Makhdoom Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has dispelled the impression that he deliberately remained absent from the House to facilitate the treasury benches for the passage of “The State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill, 2022.”
Speaking on a point of personal explanation, he said he received the agenda at around 1 a.m. in the night. Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, however said he has submitted his resignation to party as he did not want to remain Leader of Opposition in Senate.
Gilani said that under current circumstances he cannot work anymore in this position. For the first time in the history of country Chairman Senate casted vote but the chairman should be impartial and not take sides during the session, he added. He further said that he was not taken into confidence for State Bank Amendment Bill nor he was told that the bill was on agenda.
“I am not astonished by the harsh words from my opponents, but I am astonished by the silence of my well-wishers,” he said. “If ministers would have said something of this sort, it would have been an honour for me. But some turncoats are saying that I helped the government and I am saying that the government won because of your votes.”
He concluded his brief speech by stating that he had already send his resignation to his party and he no longer wanted to be the Senate opposition leader. However, it remained unclear whether his resignation had been accepted.
“The ‘turncoats’ who leave a party for another are claiming that I helped the government,” he said. “While it is not me who should be receiving the credit, it is chairman Senate. Rigging is taking place in front of him when it should not happen,” he said.
Senator Dilawar Khan, who leads a group of six independents that had primarily voted in favour of the SBP bill, maintained that his group was neutral. “We are neither with the government nor the opposition,” he said.
In his speech, he said that the group had voted for Gilani as the Senate opposition leader last year as it did not know the other candidate, PML-N’s Azam Nazir Tarar. He said that his group was labeled pro-government by some and “opposition-friendly” by others. Khan said that Gilani had contacted his group to attend Friday’s Senate session, but was not present in his chamber.
He went on to say that Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen met him before the session and explained the features of the SBP bill which is why the group voted in favour of it. He lamented the fact that fingers were now being pointed at the independent group of senators.
Leader of the House Dr. Shahzad Wasim, while responding to the points raised by the Opposition Leader, appreciated the chairman for running business of the House as per rules and regulations. He said it was the responsibility of the opposition to ensure the presence of its members on the floor of the House if it wants to oppose a certain agenda item.
During his speech, he said Gillani was a “very senior parliamentarian”. He added that it was important to keep track of the agenda and its items. “On the day the bill was passed, the opposition thumped desks for the [SBP] bill to be tabled,” he said.
“Sometimes the government also doesn’t have required numbers, it is not unusual,” he added. Referring to the vote cast by the Senate chief in favour of the government, Dr. Wasim said Sanjrani had to cast his vote to break the 43-43 tie between the government and the opposition.
He said the rules of the upper house should be decided in advance, adding that accepting what is favourable to the opposition and rejecting what does not go their way cannot become a practice.
The leader of the house’s remarks apparently created a ruckus in the Senate as the lawmakers from both the government and the opposition resorted to sloganeering and rowdiness.
Senator Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said the government has sold the State Bank of Pakistan by passing this bill, which is against Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Reacting to Gilani’s resignation, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the PPP leader was an “honourable” man. He said that it made more sense for PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari or co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to resign as the party’s senators were absent on their directives. “The senior leaders of the PML-N and PPP are embarrassed and upset at the behaviour of their leadership,” he said, adding that the change in the opposition parties was a welcome development.