ISLAMABAD - Masqbool Malik - The Senate Thursday saw three token walkouts opposition parties staged to protest the revival of National Security Council and alleged arrest of political workers by the Sindh government in Karachi that overshadowed debate on the June 10 Presidential address the Upper House is currently undertaking.

Resumed under the chairmanship of Syed Nayyar Bukhari, the Senate saw the first walkout during the first half of the proceedings when government failed to assure the House about availability of Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz to take the House in confidence over government’s policy on National Security. The walkout led by PPP was later called off. 

The other two walkouts were separately staged first by ANP and later by the MQM, both the former coalition partners of the PPP, regarding the massive arrest of their workers in Karachi allegedly by the PPP provincial government in Sindh.

Members of the two parliamentary parties were agitating to know as to why their workers were being rounded up rather than the criminals playing with the law and order situation in the port city.

Haji Muhamnmad Adeel while speaking on a point of order sought to know why more than one hundred workers of his party have been arrested. He was of the view that despite the fact that ANP remained very important coalition partner of the former ruling party PPP, why the Sindh provincial government was arresting his party workers.

As a mark of protest ANP members staged walkout and did not return to the House, which after a short while saw another token protest by MQM, which also blamed the provincial government for alleged arrest of his party workers. Prior to the walk out MQM parliamentary leader in the House Col (retd) Syed Tahir Mushadhi agitated over the massive arrest of his party workers who he believed had offered enormous sacrifices for the promotion of democracy in the country. They returned to the House voluntarily calling off their protest and rejoined the proceedings.

Apart from these developments, the House continued debate on the Presidential address to the joint sitting of the parliament. A number of members largely from the opposition benches took part in the debate and hailed the outgoing President Asif Ali Zardari for his historic steps he had taken to strengthen democracy in the country.

These members praised President Zardari for his vision and tolerance in tackling major challenges confronted the country during the past five years, and his efforts to promote democracy, shedding of his constitutional powers to the parliament as well as his efforts for promotion of interest of the country and well being of the people of Pakistan as President.  Among those members who took part in the debate included Haji Muhammad Adeel (ANP), Nasrin Jalil (MQM), Saeed Ghani (PPPP),

Kazim Khan (PPPP), professor Sajid Mir (Jamiat Ahle Hadit), Salim Mandiwallah (PPPP), Lala Abdul Rauf (PKAMP), Maula Bukhsh Chandio (PPPP), Col (retd) Syed Tahir Mushadhi (MQM), Suriya Amiruddin (PPPP) and Mukhtar Dhumra (PPPP). The House was adjourned to meet again today.