Opposition senators have slammed the government’s bypassing of Parliament in approving the newly formulated National Security Policy (NSP) 2022-2026. Led by the PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman, opposition lawmakers staged a walkout from the upper house. As government and opposition lawmakers exchanged disparaging remarks, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had to make repeated requests for the uproar in the upper house to die down and the senators to return to their seats.
Senator Sherry Rehman took the view that the government did not present the draft of the NSP to parliament. In Rehman’s view, this made the newly passed policy merely a “piece of paper” which had nothing to do with ground realities. She also took aim at the government’s bill to make the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) autonomous, which was a demand of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
After the PTI’s Senator Mohsin Aziz interrupted her remarks, Senator Rehman led a walkout in protest. Senator Shehzad Wasim from the ruling party then called upon the opposition lawmakers to listen to the government’s point of view, “if they had the courage.”
Opposition senators then directed their protest towards the dais.
Senator Wasim went on to say that this was the first time that a national security policy was being presented by a government, and mocked the opposition senators, claiming that they would not have boycotted the proceedings if military officials were attending.
Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani had to intervene repeatedly to restore order to the proceedings.