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ISLAMABAD: The opposition, on Tuesday, once again lambasted the government in the Senate for convening the joint session of the Parliament, scheduled today (Wednesday), saying the treasury benches were fearing an imminent defeat over legislation on electoral reforms as they were lacking the desired numbers.

“If they (the government) have enough numbers, why are they reaching out to opposition and requesting us for supporting the electoral reforms agenda,” asked Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani, while speaking at the Senate sitting.

“Had the government secured enough numbers (a simple majority) to get the legislation on electoral reforms done, the speaker National Assembly would never have written a letter to the opposition seeking its support on thes matter,” he said.

“The opposition responded to that letter positively and expressed willingness for consultations over electoral reforms, in wider national interest. But then, we heard this news that the government was all set to summon the joint session of the Parliament that was earlier postponed,” he said.

“This kind of non-serious attitude and unstable approach on such a crucial matter is simply flabbergasting. Things will not work, if the government keeps behaving in such an irresponsible and immature way,” Gillani said. Leader of the House in the Senate Shahzad Waseem invited the opposition parties to forge consensus on electoral reforms by working together with the government.

“If you (the opposition) have any suggestions on electoral reforms, you are welcome. We would certainly consider them and discuss them with you. Let’s sit and work together on this important issue of national importance,” he said, addressing the opposition leaders.

“Mere criticism and opposition to electoral reforms would not help. The government is determined to have electoral reforms sail through the Parliament,” he said.

In the ongoing 315th Senate session, the government has faced severe resistance from the opposition over unprecedented inflation in the country.

However, Parliamentary Affairs State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan claimed in the House in Tuesday’s sitting that the government was taking “concrete” measures to stem the tide of inflation. The announcement of 120 billion rupees’ subsidy package is part of this policy, he said.

Railways Minister Azam Swati informed the House that work on Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) would start within a month. Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Affairs Advisor Babar Awan said the federal government has decided to handover all the tourism properties of the four provinces, the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to make them a part of the government’s initiative of promoting tourism. The GB and the AJK would provide half of the revenue to the federal government earned from tourism on these properties, he added. The House would meet again Friday morning.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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