Home Featured Shibli Faraz pens letter to Senate chairman over Palwasha Khan’s chairing of session

Shibli Faraz pens letter to Senate chairman over Palwasha Khan’s chairing of session

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ISLAMABAD: Senate opposition leader Shibli Faraz has written to Senate Chairman Yousaf Raza Gilani, saying that PPP Senator Palwasha Khan’s chairing of Friday’s session in the deputy chairman’s presence was “undermining the respect and authority of the office”, it emerged on Saturday.

The Senate witnessed a heated exchange between the treasury and opposition benches on Friday as the PTI called out Palwasha for chairing the session in the presence of Senate Deputy Chairman Syedal Khan Nasir.

Senate Chairman Gilani presided over the proceedings but left 40 minutes into the session, upon which Senator Palwasha began chairing the session.

Soon after, PTI Senator Fauzia Arshad said it was regrettable that Palwasha was presiding over the session while the deputy chairman was present.

Palwasha replied it was the chairman’s prerogative to make that decision, adding that the deputy chairman arrived after she had already begun chairing the session.

Continuing with a similar line of criticism as his fellow PTI senator, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Shibli Faraz said: “Don’t make a mockery of the House and don’t harm its sanctity. It is inappropriate that you sit as the deputy chairman [in his presence], who has a role in the chairman’s absence, and you make him a piece of decoration.”

The opposition leader and Palwasha had a heated exchange as the latter said the deputy chairman came in after her while Faraz insisted that Nasir was already seated in the Senate.

In his letter, which Dawn.com has seen, Shibli wrote: “According to International parliamentary practices, it is deemed inappropriate and disrespectful for any member to preside over Senate sessions when the Deputy Chairman is present in the House.”

He argued that by taking the chair, Palwasha had allegedly violated Rule 14 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Senate, which states that in the absence of the chairman, the deputy chairman will chair the session. However, it is Rule 13 that mentions the chairperson’s powers to delegate.

The senator added that the role of the deputy chairman is “constitutionally significant”, thus Palwasha chairing the session “undermines its (the office’s) authority and respect”.

Though he stressed the need to adhere to parliamentary rules and decorum, Shibli did not actually recommend any action in this letter.