ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday witnessed another show of ‘rare unity’ between treasury and opposition benches over their desire to have the local government elections delayed.

The MPs passed a unanimous resolution seeking more time for holding LG polls.

The resolution, second in four days, moved by PTI lawmaker Arif Alvi, demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) fix a “practical date” after ensuring that all legal and administrative arrangements were in place.

Like the previously passed resolution, this also cautioned that elections carried out in haste would violate Article 140(2) of the Constitution. It was also mentioned in the resolution that the House was fully conscious of the Constitutional imperative to hold local government elections.

The legislators from treasury and opposition benches, after passing the resolution, bitterly expressed their emotions about the treatment being meted out to the resolutions of the House. “Don’t make mockery of the resolutions passed by the National Assembly. There is a need to make arrangements to implement this resolution,” said PML-N legislator Sheikh Rohail Asghar in an emotional way.

Sheikh also remarked if they could not get their resolutions implemented, there was no need to do this job. He urged the lawmakers to unite for the supremacy of the Parliament.

Speaking on the issue, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah who actually initiated the debate on LG elections appealed to the judiciary “to abstain from obduracy as it would ruin the institutions.” “This is not a matter of ego, give judgments which increase your respect. You are retiring on December 11,” he said, in a direct reference to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. He added if LG elections were held in March 2014, history would remember him for helping transfer of powers at grassroots level.

Shah further said that if the judiciary did not give respect to lawmakers, who else would. He further went a bit harsh as Speaker Ayaz Sadiq intervened and expunged some words from his speech.

The Opposition leader further said when the judiciary needed the Parliament’s help, the 19th Amendment regarding the appointment of judges was passed. “Why are you bulldozing the Parliament which reinstated the judges?” Shah questioned, once again alluding to the CJ or the whole of Supreme Court.

Another member from the treasury benches, Mehmood Khan Achakzai, added his share that they were not in favour of confrontation among the institutions. “The Parliament is a supreme institution and all others, including army and judiciary, are under it,” he added. He also considered the resolution an order of the Parliament and ECP was bound to act upon it.

Earlier, an independent lawmaker from Muzaffargarh, Jamshed Dasti, pressed a constitutional amendment seeking extension in the retirement age of judges from 65 to 67. Dasti, who submitted his (suggested) amendments about three months ago, said the judicial system had played its part to strength democracy. The government benches immediately opposed the move. Later, the House rejected the move by a majority vote.

Talking to The Nation after the proceedings of the House, Dasti said it (the move) was not only for the chief justice but for all the judges. “I want extension in the judges’ retirement age from 65 to 67,” he added.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah, speaking on a resolution about poverty alleviation, came down hard on the government over privatisation of public sector entities (PSEs). Shah, in a sarcastic way, said why the government was making such deals to appease somebody (IMF). “We in our government increased salaries about 125 percent,” he said, criticising the IMF conditions accepted by the government.

He further said the PML-N government, by making such decisions, was showing the state power to the masses, which it should show to terrorists.

About the increasing rates of four, electricity and vegetables, he said the situation is repelling investors.

He also said overseas Pakistanis should also be given the right to vote.

Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said the previous government had played the worst role by printing currency notes. He pledged the PML-N government would complete Nandipur project, Dasu, Neelum-Jhelum, Gadani dams, Mangla extension and wind power projects in its tenure.

He further said there was no need to create conflict about martyrs of Pakistan Army. “It is not appropriate to compare it with those who explode bombs,” he added.

MQM’s Sajid Hussain, on a point of order, came down hard on the JI amir for his recent remarks about the Pak forces. “Could he dare to spend only one day in Siachin Glacier?” he said, condemning the recent statement of Munawar Hassan. He demanded a ban on the JI for having double standards, adding that the government should also condemn such moves. JI lawmaker Tariqullah, in response to Sajid Hussain, said MQM was responsible for the worst law and order situation in Karachi. “The MQM leadership sitting in London is spoiling the city’s law and order,” he added. The JI leader said they had always paid rich tribute to the forces.

Taking the floor, PML-N lawmaker Sheikh Rohail Asghar stressed the need to shun personal grudges and work for the country.

At the end of the proceedings, ANP’s Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that dialogue, not war, could resolve the issues.

Earlier, PTI’s Shireen Mazari and MQM’s Salman Baloch tabled international agreements extension bill and criminal law amendment bill, respectively. Both the bills were sent to the standing committees.