Senate passes resolution election schedule for 8th Feb to be postponed Resolution moved by Senator Dilawar Khan alluded to the cold weather conditions in Balochistan & KP

Senate passes resolution with majority demanding election schedule for 8th Feb be postponed to facilitate effective participation of people

Resolution moved by Senator Dilawar Khan alluded to the cold weather conditions in Balochistan & KP

On behalf of the govt, Murtaza Solangi opposes the resolution

ISLAMABAD   (  Web  News   )

The Senate of Pakistan on Friday passed a resolution demanding the election schedule for the 8th February be postponed to facilitate effective participation of people from all areas of Pakistan and belonging to all political shades in the electioneering process. According to a private TV channel, the session was attended by only 14 out of 100 lawmakers.

The Senate resumed its session at the Parliament House in Islamabad with Chairman Mir Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair. At the outset, the House offered fateha for the departed soul of former Senator Sartaj Aziz, who passed away the other day as well as those who were martyred in recent acts of terrorism.

The resolution moved by Senator Dilawar Khan alluded to the cold weather conditions in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and surge in terror incidents in the country, stressing this delay aims to protect and uphold the constitutional rights to political participation.

The resolution noted that conducting elections without addressing legitimate concerns, facilitating sufficient opportunities for the election campaign and guaranteeing the safety of politicians and citizens would amount to violation of the fundamental rights to vote and political participation as safeguarded by the constitution of Pakistan.

The resolution urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to promptly implement the postponement and ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place to facilitate the smooth conduct of election on the revised date. It said the election commission shall engage proactively with the relevant stakeholders, political parties and communities to address their concerns and foster an environment conducive to free and fair elections.

The resolution expressed confidence in the ability of the Election Commission to effectively manage and oversee the revised election schedule ensuring the integrity and fairness of the election process. The resolution was passed with majority votes.

Senator Dilawar Khan said most of the areas in the country were currently experiencing harsh cold weather, hence, participation of voters in those areas was unmanageable.

Highlighting the law and order situation, Senator Dilawar said attacks were carried out on Mohsin Dawar and Jamiat Ulama-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) members.

Even security forces were attacked in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added. He said ANP leader Aimal Wali also had reservations over elections.

The senator said threat alerts were also issued by the intelligence agencies during election rallies.

“The Senate says that elections should not be held without removing the hurdles, therefore, the February 8 elections should be postponed,” he said adding that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) should begin the process of postponing the polls.

He also said the Senate trusted the electoral body.

The resolution was opposed by Senator Afnanullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Opposing the resolution, Senator Afnanullah criticised it saying that the security situation in the country was worse at the time of the 2008 and 2013 general elections. Elections would never be held if an excuse for security was made, he added.

He asked if the United Kingdom and the United States deferred the elections during World War II, saying excuse being made to delay the polls on the pretext of weather.

Senator Afnanullah likened the campaign for postponing elections as an act of ‘boot-polishing’. Senator Samina said climate change was a rather new phenomenon. She said now the country was undergoing a change for the better. “We hold our armed forces in high esteem,” she added.

Senator Kauda Babar said there are parts of the country, where elections could not be held because of extreme weather conditions.

“Are politicians the only ones left to die,” asked Senator Babar. He demanded of the government to come clear on the security measures taken for the safety of the candidates. He told the Upper House that his uncle passed away today and instead of grieving he was debating in the Senate.

“You cannot just leave us to die. That’s not going to happen. Who will ensure security steps for those who choose to run election campaign,” Senator Babar said. He also stressed that issuing threat alert was not enough and security should also be provided to election contestants. “The situation in the country was grim, the election contesters were not safe,” he said.

ANP Senator Hidayatullah Khan said they were not against the elections, they would contest the polls. They wanted that elections were held without spilling of blood, he said.

Extending full support for the resolution, BAP Senator Prince Ahmed Umar said their preparation was complete. However, he said, he was oblivious of the situation in KP and Balochistan.

Another BAP senator, Manzoor Kakar said they would not let the masses become victim of terrorism.

At the time of the resolution’s passing, total 14 senators were present in the House. PTI Senator Gurdeep Singh and PPP’s Behramand Tangi abstained from voting.

On behalf of the government, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Murtaza Solangi opposed the resolution.

The Senate was informed on Friday that the caretaker government has not enhanced the prices of medicines. Minister for National Health Services Dr. Nadeem Jan told the House during Question Hour that we have held talks with the pharma industry in order to prevent increase in prices of medicines.

He said the government has launched a portal and mobile telephone service where people can lodge their complaints regarding the pricing, shortage and quality of medicines. He said the government is also carrying out market surveys in this regard.

Dr. Nadeem Jan said the Federal government is working in coordination with the provinces to deal with the issue of spurious drugs.

The Minister said the public sector hospitals face liabilities of twelve billion rupees. However, the government is trying to ensure the availability of essential lifesaving drugs at the hospitals.

He told the House Pakistan is hosting a global health security summit this month with the aim to collaborate with global leaders in order to ensure equity-based pandemic preparedness.

He said the initiative of establishing Pharma Park has been taken to uplift the pharmaceutical industry.

Responding to a supplementary question, the Minister for National Health Services said no case of new Covid Variant JN.1, has been reported in Pakistan. He said we are on high alert and vaccination against Covid is also continuing.

Taking the floor, Leader of the House Mohammad Ishaq Dar pointed out that health and education are devolved subjects and greater responsibility lies with the provinces to enhance their spending on them.

The Senate was informed that sufficient quantity of Urea is available in the country to meet the requirements of the farmers.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice in the House, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Solangi said an artificial shortage of the commodity was created by the profiteers and hoarders due to reduction in the buffer stock.

He said in the backdrop of this situation, the Federal and Provincial governments as well as the fertilizer industry have been keeping an eye on the availability and price of Urea.

He said the supply of Urea to the provinces has been enhanced and the provincial governments are taking action against the hoarding.

He said the Punjab government registered 950 FIRs and imposed fines to the tune of 104 million rupees on hoarders.

The Minister informed that the Sindh government has also taken necessary measures and imposed fines of four million rupees. He said the situation vis-à-vis the availability and price of Urea has improved as a result of these steps.

He said the price of Urea bag has come down to about 4450 rupees from over five thousand rupees.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs said two cargoes carrying ninety-five thousand tons of imported Urea have reached Pakistan. He expressed the confidence that this will further bring down the price of the commodity in the coming days. The Senate chairman adjourned the Senate session indefinitely.