ISALAMABAD, (SANA): Speaking on a point of order, PPP President Makhdoom Amin Fahim announced formal boycott of Presidential elections alleging that advancing of the polling date amounted to pre-poll rigging. He alleged that the Supreme Court of Pakistan while changing the schedule of the presidential election has violated the constitution of the country.
He said that it was not the election of the town or union council nazim that the schedule was changed overnight, adding that Imran Khan should support the nation while hitting a six and should abstain from the undemocratic election of the president. He said that it is not the religious duty to be present in Mecca during the Holy Month of Ramadan. He said that the change in the date of presidential election is pre-poll rigging.
He acknowledged that PPP and its allies have not the required strength to win the election but they fielded Mian Raza Rabbani to strengthen the democratic process and fulfill constitutional requirements.
Amin Fahim said the date of 30th July is not acceptable and PPP, ANP, PML-Q and BNP-Awami would not take part in the voting.
He was of the view that the Supreme Court unilaterally gave verdict on an application submitted by PML-N leader Raja Zafarul Haq and did not hear Presidential contenders or stakeholders. PPP members were wearing black armbands and they also chanted slogans of ‘shame’ ‘shame’. Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz was also present in the house. The PPP and its allied parties also staged walk out from the Senate and National Assembly against the change in schedule of the presidential election.
PTI leader Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they subscribed to the view point of the PPP but do not agree with its strategy. He said PML-N and its allies have numerical superiority and the opposition was not in a position to get its candidate elected even if there was a unanimous candidate. He said despite this PTI proposed to PPP to nominate a non-controversial consensus candidate but PPP unilaterally nominated Mian Raza Rabbani. He said PTI also had the option of boycott but it went for contesting the elections to strengthen democratic traditions.
Responding PML-N leader and Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhammad Asif said the decision of the PPP regarding boycott of the elections is an after thought to run from the contest sensing ground realities.
He said he telephoned Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah to share names of three Presidential candidates short listed by PML-N and also sensitized him about the possibility of advancing the polling date so that maximum number of members could participate in the election. He said Syed Khurshid Shah did not express any reservations or raised any objection.
Khawaja Asif said PML-N approached the Supreme Court when its request for advancing the date was rejected by the Election Commission. He said by approaching the apex court the PML-N adopted a constitutional course and there were no bad motives involved.
He said the government has required numbers and its candidate would have won even if elections were to be held on 6th of August.
Khawaja Asif appealed to all parties to participate in the election for the office of the President which is considered to be symbol of unity of the federation. He said they should not create hurdles in the way of a legal and constitutional process.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim stood again to offer that PPP was ready to contest the election if it was held on 6th of August.
The House adopted a motion allowing the use of Chamber of the National Assembly for polling to the election of the office of the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to be held tomorrow.
The motion was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad.
Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said a new legislation would be introduced in the Parliament envisaging stricter punishment for gas thieves.
He was responding to a call attention notice moved by Sohail Shaukat Butt and others regarding theft of gas in Gujranwala by influentials.
The Minister said gas theft is a serious issue and the government is making efforts to deal with the menace firmly. He said Punjab Chief Minister has appointed a special team for conducting raids against gas theft and last week a case came to light where only one factory was stealing gas worth 27 crore rupees annually. He said this is just tip of the iceberg and those stealing the national wealth would be held accountable.
To a question, he said theft is carried out in connivance with the staff and action is also being taken against such officials.
To another question, he said seven hundred industrial consumers have been found involved in gas theft.
The Minister said gas load-shedding is done for industrial consumers and domestic consumers falling in the jurisdiction of such networks are also affected. He said efforts are being made to import gas to get rid of its load-shedding.
Replying to a call attention notice by Rai Hassan Nawaz Khan and Raja Aamer Zaman, Minister Incharge for Cabinet Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said penalty would be imposed against the contractor who failed to maintain water filtration plants properly in Islamabad.
He said the contract of the old contractor ended in March this year and his payments have been withheld. The CDA has awarded new contract and taken steps to make all the plants functional.
Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar laid before the House Third Quarterly Report of the State Bank on the state of the economy for 2012-13.
Meanwhile the 3rd session of the National Assembly began in Islamabad with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.
The chair announced the panel of the Presiding Officers for the current session. Its members include Muhammad Parvez Malik, Dr. Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, Syed Naveed Qamar, Shafqat Mahmood, Iqbal Muhammad Ali and Asiya Nasir.
At the outset of the proceedings, the House offered Fateha for the departed soul of sister of Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah. Later on the house was adjourned for indefinite period.