Former PM writes open letter to NA speaker

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has written an open letter to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, urging that production orders of arrested opposition members be issued.

“It is the fundamental and inherent responsibility of the speaker of the National Assembly, as the elected Custodian of the House, to ensure that members are able to attend the proceedings of the House unhindered and to ensure that any obstacles to their attendance are removed,” Abbasi said in the letter.

The PML-N leader continued, “Democracy is the strength by deeds, not mere words. The actions of the speaker of the National Assembly, as the Custodian of the House, should speak for themselves. The National Assembly rules of Procedure provide discretion to the speaker to facilitate the attendance of proceedings of the House by detained members through the issuance of production orders; neither cab this discretion be used to deny members their privilege to attend proceedings of the House, nor can this discretion be used arbitrarily or selectively. The intent of the framers of the Constitution and the traditions of Parliament should serve as the guiding principles in matters related to the rights and privileges of the chose representatives of the people.”

Abbasi added, “I urge you to issue production orders for all detained members of the House, without discrimination; to attend all proceedings of the House as a matter of right and as their privilege.”

The former prime minister further said, “If your office fails to issue production orders for the all detained members for all proceedings of the House as the House would not be complete in the absence of any of these members.”

“I am also aware of the fact that your office is under pressure by the government not to issue production orders for the detained members,” Abbasi said. “In deference to the respect for your office, in case my attendance will be determined to your status as the custodian of the House, I am voluntarily willing to forgo my attendance in the House after the production orders are issued.”