Senators protest against Senate resolution rejecting SC verdict on military courts

Senator Saadia Abbasi of PML-N speaks during a session of the Senate on Nov 14, 2023. Screengrab
  • Protesting senators demand withdrawal of resolution.
  • Senate chairman bars senators from speaking on issue.
  • Senate session adjourned due to lack of quorum.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN), Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) senators strongly protested against the Senate resolution that rejected the Supreme Court’s verdict on military courts, reported The News.

The protesting senators on Tuesday demanded the withdrawal of the resolution. 

In the presence of about a dozen lawmakers, a resolution was moved in the House a day earlier and adopted towards the end of the private members day.

Only one PML-N senator was able to speak while others, including Mian Raza Rabbani and Mushtaq Ahmad, could not get on the floor after a lack of quorum was pointed out.

Other senators, who were also part of the protest, included Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party and PPP’s Taj Haider. The leader of the House and leader of the opposition were not seen in the sparsely attended sitting.

As the House resumed, PML-N’s Senator Saadia Abbasi registered a strong protest, forcing the deputy chairman to allow her to speak.

“Yesterday, a resolution was passed in the House when only 11-12 members were present by ignoring the rules and regulations. This process was conducted in haste. We neither support it nor it strengthens democracy in the country,” she asserted.

The PML-N lawmaker was of the view that the Supreme Court verdict was in the interest of the people, pointing out the apex court had twice turned down the military courts. This House, Abbasi said, was used for the adoption of such a resolution as a negation of democracy.

Senator Abbasi also wondered why the resolution was passed in such a hurry when the majority members were not present and why it was not placed on the agenda again. She asked the members to strongly condemn the resolution and demanded to take it back.

While Abbasi was speaking, some other senators were also on their feet and wanted to express their opinion. Senator Mushtaq even came forward, stood right in front of the dais of the chairman and pleaded for an opportunity to allow him and other members to speak for a couple of minutes.

Senator Rabbani also kept on speaking without being given the floor. However, the chair appeared adamant on first concluding the question-hour and two calling attention notices. 

In the meantime, PTI’s Saifullah Abro drew the chair’s attention towards the quorum.

The count was made and the House was found lacking a quorum, forcing the chair to suspend the proceedings. Another count was made after the bells were rung but there were hardly 16 lawmakers in the House, which was adjourned to meet again on Friday morning.

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