ISLAMABAD, October 27, 2018: Former Senate Opposition Leader, Senator Sherry Rehman submitted adjournment motions in the Senate to discuss the government’s foreign debt agreements, its possible intervention in the Middle East conflict and rising gas prices. “As this government enters its first year, there are three issues that need urgent attention and deliberation, our economy, our seemingly directionless state of foreign affairs and rising gas prices. Unfortunately, the parliament has been sidelined in major decisions concerning major developments that will impact the future of Pakistan, its liabilities and its exposure. I am moving motions to ensure that these issues are explained on the floor of the House,” the Senator asserted.
Rehman said, “The people of Pakistan are entitled to an explanation about what is being agreed to in the name of the federation. It is not okay to repeat the mistakes of the past by calling them legacy issues. If Pakistan is to be indebted or taken into conflict-resolution abroad the people and their representatives have a sovereign right to be taken in confidence. The Senate must discuss the terms of the loans, obtained, or being obtained, debt or bonds raised, from foreign sources and multilateral lenders, including all facilities and contingent liabilities being incurred by the government. Parliamentary oversight is not only crucial, it is necessary. Our public finances are in absolute disarray. We need to move past pointing fingers and start working together to put our house in order. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that Pakistan prospers. Irresponsible unilateralism on raising foreign debt is unacceptable and must be a thing of the past”.
The Senator added, “Pakistan’s intervention in the Middle East conflict, particularly in Yemen, is being discussed at the highest levels by the government. The terms of our engagement and role in the Yemeni conflict must be immediately shared in parliament, especially when the Yemeni embassy itself issued a statement that there is no war between its country and Saudi Arabia. What exactly is being mediated? The public has the right to know. Additionally, given the state of our internal affairs and new indebtedness to one party in the conflict, what are the terms we have agreed to in order to mediate a conflict of this scale?”
“Gas is a basic requirement of every citizen. How can the parliament be bypassed while the government was deciding on the price hike? This government came into power with the promise of relieving the burden on the people’s shoulders. This will result in the exact op
posite and we are already seeing the effects with inflation and spike in electricity prices. The dangerous part is that this is only the beginning. What is the government’s follow-through policy?” Rehman asked.
“These matters are of public importance. The consequences of sidelining parliament have grave historical precedent in Pakistan, which we are still struggling to deal with today. The parliament is the people’s voice in policy making. That is how stable and functioning democracies work. It has become increasingly frustrating that we have to continuously state what should be common knowledge,” concluded Rehman.