The opposition in the Senate on Monday lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan’s warning to them, saying it was obvious who he was issuing these threats to, reported The News.
Opposition members were referring to the prime minister's live telethon on Sunday in which he issued a warning about how he would be more lethal if he was out of government.
Speaking in the session on a matter of public importance on Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Sherry Rehman asked who the premier was issuing threats to.
She alleged that the prime minister came to power through rigging, saying those who had selected him would be laughing at his statement.
“Instead of rescuing the country from crises, the prime minister of Pakistan says he will mount on the container to pose a threat. Whom he is threatening? Does he want to burn Pakistan,” the report quoted Rehman.
Expressing ire over the premier’s remarks, Rehman asked why he was issuing warnings, amid an echo of presidential form of system in the country, instead of trying to find a solution to the country’s problems collectively.
The PPP Senator said that the prime minister understood that his time in the PM House was limited now, owing to his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s “disastrous performance on every count”.
“His constant blaming either the past, or external circumstances or anyone he can think of except his own incompetent government, has now become a joke for the people of Pakistan,” she added.
At one point during Sunday's telethon, the premier criticized the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and said he had no respect for Shehbaz Sharif and didn’t consider him an opposition leader.
In the Senate session, Rehman demanded an explanation from the treasury benches on how a sitting prime minister could say he will decide who is Leader of the Opposition. “This is neither his decision, nor is it his prerogative. Members of parliament are elected by the people of Pakistan, who are sovereign according to the Constitution of Pakistan,” she added.
Rehman believed a strange situation of political uncertainty was prevailing in the country while the premier was busy in undermining the Parliament.
“Instead of providing solutions, he is now openly threatening both the opposition and a large majority who elected the opposition. He is making a laughing stock of Pakistan by threatening his own country, but also sending a message to his selectors who are now clearly fed up with this amateur show. The government is sinking like a leaky ship, and instead of salvaging their own dignity, the PM is lashing out at everyone.
"Putting the stability and security of the country in the dock for one’s own personal whims and fantasies of power is irresponsible and extremely dangerous. Such an unstable person should not be holding the reins of the country,” she said.
The treasury benches responded to the opposition by hitting back and emphasised that the prime minister had shown mirror to the “incapable opposition”, having experience of “30 years of incapability in governance”, read The News report.
Responding to Rehman, charged Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem said, “Please tell me, who will issue threats to such an incapable opposition that is not worthy of threat. The prime minister has in fact shown mirror to you and that is why you are so outraged”.
At this the opposition staged a token walkout from the House.
However, Waseem continued his speech and said those who had been disqualified by the court were calling the government incapable. Giving reference to Rehman’s speech, he asked if the situation was like that, how could there be 5.37 per cent Gross Domestic Product growth despite Covid.
Waseem was giving reference to a revised growth estimate of the country which was recently performed by the ministry of planning and the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
He also claimed farmers were prospering as Rs1,100 billion already went to the agriculture sector and this initiative changed their lives. “The farmer now owns tractor and they (opposition) mount on it to lament this. The premier had shown them mirror on their performance and what they have been doing in the National Assembly. “The PTI government has put the economy on track and on sound footing, and this has been recognised by Bloomberg and the World Bank,” he noted.
Earlier, in the session the opposition senators spoke on an adjournment motion on the rising tide of terrorism and voiced their concerns over talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, which were being held through Taliban government that was not yet recognised by any country of the world, reported Dawn.
They demanded discussion on the recently unveiled National Security Policy in the parliament and that an internal security policy, as well as the Afghan strategy, should be framed in light of that discussion, according to the report.
The senators claimed the government was investing all its energies to stifling dissent and cornering its political opponents, while ignoring its basic responsibility to protect the lives of the people.
Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani said the TTP was said to be reorganising in Afghanistan, while the state had been patronising extremist outfits and religious groups.
The government kept its doors open for talks despite the TTP continued violating on a ceasefire agreement, he added.
Senator Tahir Bizenjo of the National Party noted eight terrorist attacks had taken place across the country over the last 10 days, while Nawabzada Umar Farooq Kasi said negotiating with terrorists only encouraged them.
Jamaat-e-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmad asked who was actually negotiated with the TTP, and what were the terms of these talks. The lawmaker also sought an explanation from the interior minister over his statement about presence of terrorists’ sleeper cells in the federal capital.
Responding to the opposition lawmakers, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid informed the Senate that negotiations with the TTP had stalled because their demands were unreasonable. He also warned the opposition of a potential terror threat if it went ahead with its proposed long march, asking them to consider rescheduling it.