Increase font size Decrease font size Reset font size

MQM, Ayaz Sadiq return to National Assembly today

By Iftikhar A. Khan 2015-11-06
ISLAMABAD: After spending over three months away from parliament, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) looks set to return to the National Assembly on Friday.

All 24 MQM members of the National Assembly had resigned on August 12 in protest against the alleged victimisation, extra-judicial killings and disappearances of their party workers in the Karachi operation. The house was prorogued sine die the following day and will be meeting on Friday for the first time since then.

On Thursday, a delegation of MQM MNAs submitted applications for the withdrawal of resignations to acting National Assembly Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, three days after the MQM`s return to the Senate.

MQM had decided to withdraw the resignations of its lawmakers following the formation of a Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Oct 17.

The MQM is the fourth largest party in the 342-seat National Assembly with 24 MNAs, third largest in the 104-seat Senate with eight members and the second largest in the 168-seat Sindh Assembly with51members.

Soon after their resignations, the PM had assigned Maulana Fazlur Rehman the task of reconciling with the MQM and bringing them back to parliament. His efforts bore fruit and the MQM agreed to hold direct talks with the government, which subsequently led to the agreement over the GRC.

Though the party appeared to be offended by the stance taken by a law officer before the Supreme Court during the hearing of a case related to the ban on covering speeches by MQM chief Altaf Hussain, things appear to have normalised now.

`We are satisfied with the finance minister`s assurance that whatever has been agreed during closed-door meetings will be implemented in letter and spirit, MQM spokesperson Aminul Haq told Dawn.

Another highlight of the day will be the return to the house of former National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. He will be sworn in as a member of the National Assembly and return to the house for the first time since his de-seating from NA-122 (Lahore) on August 22.

Though under the rules, the election to the office of the National Assembly Speaker is supposed to take place on the first day of the session, it is missing from the house agenda for Friday.

PTI has named Shafgat Mehmood as its candidate for the office of Speaker, while PPP leaders and lawmakers have indicated that they will neither field a candidate nor support an opponent fielded by the PTI, if Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was nominated by the PML-N.