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NA speaker offers to hold debate on PPP demands

LAHORE: Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, a senior PML-N leader and speaker of the National Assembly, has offered an olive branch to the Pakistan Peoples Party and said the ruling party is willing to discuss in parliament the four demands made by the PPP.

“We are ready to discuss the PPP’s four demands in parliament. I ask the PPP to come to parliament [for a debate on its demands] instead of taking to the streets,” Mr Sadiq said while talking to reporters on Saturday.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has declared that his party would launch a protest campaign after Dec 27 if the PML-N government does not accept its four demands — about appointment of a full-fledged foreign minister, formation of a parliamentary committee on national security, passage of the opposition’s bill seeking investigation into the Panamagate issue and implementation of the resolution passed by a multiparty conference on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor held in May last year.

The PPP says it may review its plan to launch a protest campaign in case the government shows seriousness towards accepting its demands.

“The PPP is already in the assembly as it has not boycotted it. What the NA speaker needs to do is to ensure the passage of the opposition bill seeking investigation into the Panamagate issue and formation of a parliamentary committee on national security. These two issues fall in his domain,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, the president of the Punjab chapter of PPP, said in response to Mr Sadiq’s statement.

Talking to Dawn, he said that if Mr Sadiq managed to meet the above two demands, the PPP would realise that the PML-N government was serious and might review the option of taking to the streets.

“Mr Sadiq can only do so if he becomes the speaker of the [entire] National Assembly and not just that of the ruling PML-N,” he remarked.

Mr Kaira said the PPP made the four demands for the benefit of the whole nation and not to gain political mileage.

“We see the people of Pakistan benefiting if these demands are met,” he said and warned the government not to ignore the Dec 27 deadline, which was not far off.

Meanwhile, the PPP’s five-member committee constituted to devise a strategy regarding the party’s demands — comprising former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (head), Senator Sherry Rehman, Mr Kaira, Senator Farhatullah Babar and Senator Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hasni — held a meeting and discussed the party’s likely “strong response” in case the government did not come up with any plan to implement them.

“The PPP may start the protest drive with public meetings in the first phase. The option of a long march which Bilawal talked about will be considered later,” said a party insider.

He said that after the return home of PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari, the party was in a better position to press the government for acceptance of its demands because the ruling party could not afford two parties — the PPP and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf — to mount street protests simultaneously.

courtesy : dawn news

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