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Abbasi Accuses NA Speaker Of Delaying Production Orders Of Detained Legislators at PTI’s Behest

ISLAMABAD: In an open letter written to the National Assembly (NA) speaker, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has accused Asad Qaiser for failing in his responsibility to ensure the attendance of detained legislators by issuing their production orders.

The letter, written by the former prime minister on August 26, was made public on Thursday.

According to the letter, Abbasi claimed that he knew that the NA speaker’s office was being pressurised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government against issuing production orders for incarcerated legislators.

“I have individually and collectively tried to impress upon your office in private meetings, official discussions and on the floor of the house, the need to issue production orders for members of the National Assembly who are under detention; judicial or otherwise. Unfortunately, my efforts have had no effect,” the PML-N leader said in the letter.

He also said, “As members of the National Assembly, through his inherent right as a chosen representative of the people of Pakistan, only has one basic privilege; to be able to attend the proceedings of the house to exercise the will and aspirations of the people of his constituency.”

“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,” the letter further read.

While regretting inaction by the speaker’s office, Abbasi wrote that Asad Qaiser’s office had failed to ensure the attendance of detained members of the house by non-discriminatory and timely issuance of production orders.

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Giving examples to support his point, he said, “The last session of the National Assembly was summoned to meet on July 29, 2019; my production orders were issued on August 5, 2019. The joint sitting was summoned to meet on August 6, 2019; my production orders were received after the second session had started on August 7, 2019.”

He also said that he was still waiting for a reply from the NA speaker’s office in connection with his letter.

Abbasi’s letter further read, “Democracy is strengthened by deeds, not by 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 Procedures provide discretion to the speaker to facilitate the attendance of proceedings of the house by detained members through the issuance of production orders; neither can this discretion be used to deny members their privilege to attend the proceedings of the house, nor can this discretion be used arbitrarily or selectively.”

He urged Qaiser to issue production orders of all detained legislators and allow them to exercise their right by attending all proceedings of the house.

Moreover, the senior PML-N leader said, “I am aware of the fact that your office is under pressure by the government not to issue production orders for the detained members.”

“In deference to the respect for your office, in case my attendance will be detrimental 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,” concluded the letter.

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