Govt courting opposition to end boycott


Islamabad June 2 (TNS): The government has ramped up its efforts to persuade the opposition to end its boycott of the National Assembly as Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab on Friday showed up at the chamber of the Opposition Leader Khurshid Shah.

The joint opposition as part of their strategy boycotted the joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday while President Mamnoon Hussain was addressing the session chaired by NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq and also attended by army, naval and air chief, diplomats and foreign dignitaries.

According to sources, Sheikh Aftab conveyed a “special message” from the government to the opposition leader. However, Khursid Shah, according to the sources, made it clear that the boycott could only be ended if the government agreed to their joint demands including allowing him, as the opposition leader, the opportunity to telecast his speech live on PTV.

Earlier, the joint opposition, which left the Parliament in protest during President Mamnoon Hussain’s address to the joint sitting, blamed the government for all the pandemonium.

While talking to the media after their boycott of the joint sitting, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah said that the opposition was unanimous in its boycott. He said that the government could have averted the situation if it had shown flexibility in its attitude.

He said that the president’s speech was nothing but a charade as he kept tightlipped about the FATA issue which the government has put on the backburner despite the fact that the government itself had formed the FATA Reforms Committee and later brought a draft bill in the Parliament, and legislation on the important bill has been put in abeyance.

He alleged that the PML-N government, in the past, targeted institutions including the judiciary and the army. He said that the opposition holds the Parliament supreme and wanted to sort out issues in the House but the government was denying them the opportunity to speak its mind. He also alleged that the government was behind the remarks of Nehal Hashmi. The president never bothered in the 4 years to address the Parliament on national issues including terrorism and corruption, Shah said.

PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the government forced the opposition to take that course and it should have pondered why the opposition has taken an extreme posture.

JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq said that the government was responsible for their boycott of the Parliament’s joint sitting. “The government is responsible for disrespecting the president’s speech,” he said.

Aitzaz Hassan alleged that the government planted a story in The News and Jang to malign the judiciary and to make the Panama leaks probe controversial.

He also alleged that Nawaz Sharif’s yearning compelled Nehal Hashmi to speak and threat judges and JIT investigators.

He said that Nehal will be rewarded by making him Sinh governor if Nawaz Sharif remains in power for two more years.

He said that Nawaz Sharif was conspiring to malign the apex court and the bench probing the Panama Papers, as the Sharif family has no evidence how they purchased property abroad.