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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lambasted the federal government in Senate on Tuesday for “unprecedented crackdowns” and “highest form of brutality” against the leaders, workers and supporters of the former ruling party ahead of PTI’s ‘long march’ scheduled today (Wednesday).

Led by Leader of the Opposition Dr Shahzad Waseem, the PTI senators staged a walkout from the house against what they said were illegal crackdown/ arrests of the PTI leaders, workers and supporters.

Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani directed the treasury members to bring the protesting senators back in the house. But, in an apparently embarrassing situation for Sanjrani, the treasury members refused to comply with the chair’s directions.

This did not go down well with the Senate chief. Addressing the treasury senators, a visibly perturbed Sanjrani said, “Don’t forget—when you were in opposition and you would stage walkouts—I would always ask the then government members to bring you back in the house and they would do so.”

Sanjrani then directed Danesh Kumar from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), an ally in the ruling coalition, to bring the PTI senators back in the house. On Kumar’s request the protesting senators returned to the house.

Speaking on the floor of the house, the opposition leader minced no words to state that unprecedented public support to PTI’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ created a massive hype that unnerved the ruling coalition that was resorting to highhanded tactics to suppress the march.

“At midnight (falling between Monday and Tuesday), illegal/ unlawful raids were carried out at the residences of people connected to PTI. The policemen jumped over the walls of the PTI lawmakers without any arrest warrants. The privacy of homes was intruded.

The sanctity of their families was breached on the behest of ‘ruling thugs and thieves’. Men, women and children were abused, beaten and stuffed in police vans,” Waseem said in his hard-hitting speech.

Hundreds of PTI leaders and workers have been arrested, he said. “Even Senator Walid Iqbal, the grandson of Allama Iqbal, was not spared. They did not hesitate to unlawfully break into the house of Allama Iqbal’s family.

The daughter-in-law of our great national poet is asking: what did her family do to deserve this? A 12-year daughter of a PTI worker was physically thrashed. Our heads are hanging in shame to witness the height of this shamelessness and debacle,” Waseem deplored.

In the same vein, the opposition leader continued, “What else is expected of these ‘imported puppets’? Their masters have installed them to create anarchy and chaos in Pakistan. This is their mission to create instability in this country and they are following it. By trying to sabotage our peaceful march, they are inviting trouble for themselves. These puppets are bound to fail. People would remove every obstacle and reach Islamabad tomorrow on Imran Khan’s call, come what may.”

Waseem said members of assemblies/ Senate cannot be arrested without the approval of the speakers of the assemblies concerned/ chairman Senate. “Under what law were the houses of PTI lawmakers raided and that too without warrants?” he asked.

Leader of the House Azam Nazeer Tarar tried to respond to the opposition leader but charged opposition senators kept chanting anti-government slogans.

“When PTI was in power and opposition leaders would get arrested, they (PTI leaders) never uttered a word of condemnation. The opposition leaders were framed in false cases but the conscience of PTI leaders was in deep slumber,” he said.

Tarar said the government would not allow PTI’s long march to “run over Islamabad.” Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Parliamentary Leader in Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani said, “Were the leaders like Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari and so many others not arrested when PTI was in power? Why crying foul now when your (PTI) leaders are being arrested?”

Meanwhile, the leader of the house and opposition leader in Senate moved a motion to authorise the chairman Senate to make nominations to the parliamentary committee constituted to evaluate “shortcomings of previous elections and make recommendations for the electoral reforms to ensure that elections are held in a free, fair and transparent manner. The chairman may also be authorised to make changes in the nominations, as and when required.”

The treasury moved Elections (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 and General Statistics (Re-Organisation) (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 in the house.

The house is scheduled to meet again today (Wednesday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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