A parliamentary delegation headed by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and comprising members from all major political parties, except the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), called on Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman at the Prime Minister House.
The delegation also comprised members from the National Assembly, including Speaker Asad Qaiser and Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri, but no opposition member from the lower house of parliament was included.
The PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, Sherry Rehman, stayed away from the meeting while expressing her surprise and reservations over the composition of the delegation.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) Raja Zafarul Haq and the party’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, Mushahidullah Khan, however, attended the meeting.
Others included in the delegation were Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the PTI’s Azam Swati, Senator Aurangzeb Khan from the erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohamed Khan, and the PTI’s parliamentary leader in the National Assembly, Aamir Dogar.
Senator Rehman criticised the government for not inviting the opposition leadership to the official engagements during the visit of the Saudi crown prince, saying the government should have sent a positive message to the world that there is a complete unity among the political parties for the betterment of the country and the state.
She regretted the government’s decision of not inviting former president Asif Ali Zardari, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in any activity during the visit of the Saudi prince.
Interestingly, the National Assembly and Senate secretariats issued separate statements giving an impression that the speaker and the Senate chairman had headed different delegations.
However, official photos and video footage clearly showed both the Senate chairman and the speaker together, holding a meeting with the Saudi crown prince, with the members of both houses of parliament.
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