Mian Raza Rabbani pays tributes to retiring senators
Posted on 31-January-2009
Saturday, January 31, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The 50th session of the Senate was prorogued on Friday, which witnessed useful discussions on the Swat situation, Dr Afia Siddiqui and some other issues in addition to at least verbal bouts among some senators.
Verbal clashes and needless interruptions are rare in the upper house of parliament but these did happen during the last regular session prior to the retirement of 50 senators of the 100-member House on March 11.
The sixth parliamentary year of the Senate will end in March during which it had 91 sittings, an additional session, as its 90-day proceedings are mandatory in a parliamentary year. It had failed to meet for the minimum required days last year.
Showing magnanimity, Leader of the House Mian Raza Rabbani, who is also the Federal Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, apologised to lawmakers, particularly to PkMAP’s Raza Muhammad Raza and Nilofar Bakhtiar of the PML-Q and said what he had said was in reaction to their uttering, but even then he regretted to have done so.
He was highly appreciative of the contribution of legislators towards the proceedings and their interest in debates on the key national issues. He said the farewell Senate session would be held in the first week of March.
Rabbani thanked the outgoing Senate Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro for maintaining decorum since 2003 and said his role had been exemplary not only inside, but also outside the House. Soomro also reciprocated his comments and also thanked the senators for their cooperation and their input during these years.
Rabbani was also grateful to Deputy Chairman Jan Muhammad Jamali and Leader of Opposition Kamil Ali Agha, who is also retiring in March. Rabbani also spoke highly of the standing committees and their chairmen and members, particularly the committees on Foreign Affairs and Human Rights, Mushahid Hussain Sayed and SM Zafar.
The upcoming Senate elections are poised to make the PML-Q, the largest party in the House, a minority party, whereas the Pakistan People’s Party will bag more seats than any other group as per the party calculations.
Two ministers — Farooq H Naek and Waqar Ahmad Khan — will also retire but it is widely believed that they could return to the House. However, the PML-Q’s sitting Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro is set to lose the coveted slot, whereas his deputy Jan Muhammad Jamali will retire in 2012.
The body language of such legislators and the way they took part in the proceedings since the start of the 50th session of the Senate, amply reflected their frustration and perhaps helplessness.
This very feeling was evident right from Friday, the first day of the fresh session, but it culminated into unnecessary repeated verbal bouts and needless interruptions on Wednesday evening, on the sixth sitting (including Saturday and Sunday), and to be precise the fourth sitting.
The usually cordial and accommodative mood was missing even during the Question-Hour. However, it reached its climax when Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Senator Raza Muhammad Raza was speaking on the law and order situation in Swat.
Leader of the House Mian Raza Rabbani had to beg the senators not to vitiate the traditional amicable environment in the House, acknowledging the feeling of retirement was on the mind of certain legislators.
Though no party has so far finalised the list of its candidates who will be contesting for the Senate seats, many senators, briefly interviewed by this correspondent at the Parliament House, believed the elections could bring in a some good brains, as some of the senators, now retiring, had not contributed much to the House performance. They mentioned the names of some senators to substantiate their viewpoint, but requested their names should not be printed.