ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has convened a joint sitting of the Parliament Wednesday (Nov 17) as it convinced its allies, Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) for their support to the passage of bills including the controversial, Elections (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021 regarding use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
On the other hand, the joint opposition vowed to oppose the bills tooth and nail relating to the EVMs and other legislations in the joint sitting of the Parliament.
As many as 56-point agenda including bills relating to EVMs, the right to vote for overseas Pakistanis, and others would be presented during the joint session of the Parliament.
A delegation of government ally, MQM-P, Tuesday called on Prime Minister Imran Khan and discussed matters of mutual interest and legislations relating to the joint-sitting of the Parliament.
The delegation consisting of Aminul Haq and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui discussed bills being tabled during the upcoming joint session of the Parliament.
The MQM-P has also announced to attend the joint sitting of the Parliament and support government on EVMs; however, the government has assured its coalition partner about bills regarding Hyderabad University and Census.
Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Aminul Haque said while talking to media that Prime Minister Imran Khan had answered all queries related to the EVMs during the meeting.
He said transparency would be ensured with the use of EVMs in elections, and termed it necessary to guarantee voters’ trust in the electoral system.
He said, “this decision was taken after consultation with the coordination committee of the party.”
He mentioned that the party was briefed on the EVM by the federal minister for science and technology, a day earlier.
He said that the bills regarding Hyderabad University and the Census will also be presented in the joint-sitting of the parliament.
While talking to media in the corridor of the Parliament, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the government’s electoral reforms are aimed at securing public interest.
He said all members of his party and allied parties are on the same page for these reforms.
“We have taken our allies into confidence in this regard,” he said.
He said that we have also given enough time to the opposition to think over the matter and suggest their amendments.
On the other hand, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif telephoned several leaders of the opposition parties and discussed what to do next and how to block the government’s plans of legislation in the joint sitting.
According to the sources, Shehbaz Sharif telephoned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Qaumi Wattan Party (QWP) Chief Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Awami National Party (ANP) central leader Amir Haider Khan Hoti, Chief of National Party Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Mohsin Dawar, and Ameer Jamaat-e-Islami Sirajul Haq.
The opposition leader expressed his appreciation over the united efforts of the Opposition in Parliament and thanked them for their cooperation.
With Bilawal, Shehbaz discussed parliamentary issues and matters of common and national interests.
The two leaders discussed the joint session of the Parliament as well and the opposition’s future strategy.
According to the sources, Bilawal told Shehbaz that the Parliament was the only democratic forum for the elected representatives to legislate on people-friendly policies and laws, as they uphold the interest of the common man there.
He told the opposition leader that the opposition parties had successfully compelled the “selected” PTI-led government to surrender and retreat on several occasions in the recent past, and that success was achieved because of unity of the opposition parties.
Later, an important consultative meeting of opposition members was also held in the Opposition Chamber of the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday.
PPP senior leaders, Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Maulana Asad of the JUI-F, PML-N leaders, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Rana Sanaullah, and other members of the parliament from the opposition parties also attended the meeting.
The meeting agreed to direct all opposition members of the Parliament to ensure their attendance in the joint-sitting of the parliament Wednesday (Nov 17).
The opposition leaders vowed that the united opposition would block the government’s “black legislation” with all its might.
Opposition leader Shehbaz said that the government, which is making the people suffer from inflation could not survive on “black laws”.
He said that the country was suffering from economic decline and the people were suffering from inflation.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021