Raza Rab­bani’s com­mit­ment to democ­racy and Dutch en­voy

Pakistan Observer - - NATIONAL -

SSALAHUDDIN HAIDER ENATE Chair­man Raza Rab­bani is in deed a model for oth­ers to em­u­late. His com­mit­ment to democ­racy and pas­sion for hu­man­ity is above board. Time and again he has proved that through acts, the lat­est be­ing a “walk­out” from the up­per house against the in­tended rise in pay and perks of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. This was re­ally some­thing unique, and in fact epoch-mak­ing. Par­lia­men

tar­i­ans , those in op­po­si­tion par­tic­u­larly, do have the ten­dency to walk out from the House, but for a Chair­man, num­ber two in power hi­er­ar­chy after the Pres­i­dent of Pak­istan, was some­thing re­ally his­toric. Satur­day night, I have had the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss this with him at a dinner hosted by em­i­nent lawyer-politi­cian Nafees Sid­diqi at his De­fence So­ci­ety res­i­dence.

Raza ex­plained that de­scrib­ing the event as a walk-out by a sec­tion of the me­dia, was in­cor­rect. But he did dis­ap­prove of the cho­rus in the house for a rather un­usual rise in pay and perks. He ex­plained that even in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, the de­mand for rais­ing the salaries of MNAs from Rs 36,000 to nearly Rs 300,000, and ex­tra­or­di­nary in­crease in perks in the name of con­veyance, and re­search al­lowances, was just in the form of a res­o­lu­tion, which was more of an in­tent. The de­mand has not been given the shape of a bill for le­gal sanc­tion. How­ever, he thought that in a coun­try, where poverty, hunger, and squalor was ram­pant, par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, elected through pop­u­lar votes, should show con­cern more for the or­di­nary and the com­mon man, rather than in the wel­fare of their own selves.

Raza has al­ways been a demo­crat, com­mit­ted to prin­ci­ples, en­shrined in the Con­sti­tu­tion, and in the Hu­man Rights Char­ter of the United Na­tions, as well for the world’s first ever Con­sti­tu­tion, which was the great ser­mon from the Holy Prophet Mo­ham­mad (PBUH). He had first op­posed the move in the se­nate from some of the mem­bers, and then when fi­nally it came for dis­cus­sion, he left the House, re­fus­ing to be party to that. Ear­lier also, he had re­signed min­istry for not be­ing given due place in a party, for which, he had de­voted his life. Raza, re­mained loyal to Bhut­tos, and was the most trusted lieu­tenant of slain prime min­is­ter Be­nazir Bhutto. At the time of Mur­taza Bhutto’s killing, he was the first to be con­tacted by Be­nazir, and when Mushar­raf took over in 1999, he again was the first to be con­tacted by his party leader from Lon­don.

Dur­ing dis­cus­sions last night, Raza thought that the gen­er­ally held viewpoint that Se­nate can­not pass the fi­nance bill or the na­tional bud­get for not be­ing di­rectly elected, was flawed in na­ture. He thought that when over 60 nom­i­nated mem­bers to the Na­tional As­sem­bly, too have vot­ing rights, why should Se­na­tors, elected by pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tures, be de­nied the right to pass the na­tional bud­get. A num­ber of em­i­nent peo­ple were present at Nafees Party.

They in­cluded con­suls gen­eral of Rus­sia Oleg Avedeev, of In­done­sia Hadi San­toso, the deputy head of the UK Mis­sion in Karachi Steve Cross­man, hon­orary con­sul of Canada Byram D Avari, Jam Farouk Ali, Kalim Fa­rooqui, Qazi Sa­jid Ali, and a lot more. Just few days back, the Nether­lands Am­bas­sador Miss Jean­nette Sep­pen, was in Karachi to at­tend the King’s Day cel­e­bra­tions. A grand dinner was hosted by Tarek Khan and wife Adeela at a lo­cal ho­tel.

Th­ese days there is al­most a mini “in­va­sion” on Is­lam­abad of fe­male am­bas­sadors. The Cana­dian high com­mis­sioner has re­turned ear­lier than sched­uled, but there are still six more lady am­bas­sadors now in the cap­i­tal city. Tarek Khan, and wife proved tremen­dous hosts. The party was warm, and so was the speech by am­bas­sador Sep­pen. She is smart lady, very ar­tic­u­late, and pleas­ing char­ac­ter. The dinner was at­tended by large num­ber of peo­ple, VIPs in­cluded. The Nether­lands am­bas­sador looked for­ward to much stronger ties with Pak­istan, which was a happy au­gury. Nether­lands is a lovely coun­try, a great tourist at­trac­tion in Europe, sec­ond only to Switzer­land. It is al­ways a de­light to be there, a coun­try which is also known as Hol­land. Tarek Khan and Adeela are in­deed lovely char­ac­ters, very hos­pitable, and car­ing—great qual­i­ties.

Em­i­nent lawyer-politi­cian Nafees Sid­diqi hosted a party in hon­our of Se­nate Chair­man Raza Rab­bani. Con­suls Gen­eral of Rus­sia Oleg Avedeev, In­done­sia Hadi San­toso, Hon­orary Con­sul of Canda, Byram Avari and oth­ers seen in group photo.

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