ISLAMABAD      -     The opposition in the Senate on Tuesday criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for making all necessary legislation through presidential ordinances and using delaying tactics to lay these before the Parliament what it said the government’s ‘policy of rule through ordinances.’

The house that met on a requisition after a break of over two months was adjourned without transacting any business following a protest launched by the opposition after the government’s vague response over the question when it would lay recently promulgated presidential ordinances before the Senate.

The opposition members assembled in front of the chairman’s podium after the chair refused to give a ruling binding the government to lay the ordinances during the current requisitioned session.

The opposition lawmakers chanted slogans saying “no to ordinances, no to civilian dictatorship, and give respect to parliament” even after the adjournment of house till 3pm today.

Former Senate chairman and PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani raising the issue of promulgation of ordinances said these could be promulgated only when the parliament was not in session and “there is a life and death matter for the parliament.”

“The president does not promulgate an ordinance mechanically on receiving a summary but he has to be satisfied if such circumstances exist which warrant promulgation of an ordinance.” Rabbani also referred to a ruling of the chair stating that an ordinance was to be laid on the first day of the sitting of the house, transacting the government business, held after promulgation of the said ordinance. He said the government was required to provide reasons of its promulgation.

PPP stalwart said the parliament had a right to disapprove an ordinance. “The government claims to be democratic but is it a democratic norm to rule by ordinances and ignore the parliament?” he questioned.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Senator Azam Swati said it was President’s discretion to promulgate an ordinance. He said the ordinances were not laid because the same were not on the day’s agenda as it was a session requisitioned by the opposition.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, however, insisted that there were rulings under which the government could bring its agenda in requisitioned session. She remarked that President House had been turned into an ordinance factory. She added that Senate was not convened by the government fearing the opposition-dominated house would disapprove these ordinances. Her party colleague Senator Rehman Malik said the government should not bypass the parliament by promulgating ordinances rather than giving respect to this institution. He said the presidential ordinances were not acceptable to the opposition.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz pointed out that a discussion on curfew and lockdown in Srinagar was on agenda but that the issue had been put on backburner due to opposition’s refusal to honour the decision taken at business advisory committee.

On a question of Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla, who was chairing the session, that the government should explain when it would lay the ordinances before the house, Faraz responded that the ordinances would be laid before at an appropriate time.

The opposition however insisted that the ordinances should be laid during the current session. The chair adjourned the house for 15 minutes. Senator Sitara Ayaz chaired the session for a short time when it met again, with the opposition insisting her to give a ruling, directing the government to lay ordinances before the Senate during the current session. The opposition launched a protest followed by the untimely adjournment of the house.

Senator Sherry Rehman speaking to reporters after the sitting threatened that the opposition parties would stage a sit-in on the floor of the house if the government continued with its policy of ‘rule through ordinances”.