Two belated �nays� couldn�t take the opposition PML-N far enough before the National Assembly went into an unusual nine-day preparatory recess on Friday after giving a vote of thanks to President Asif Ali Zardari. The house was adjourned, rather than prorogued, in line with a business advisory committee decision so it could meet again on May 9 without being summoned by the president and members and ministers concerned could use the intervening period to prepare for a serious debate on how to overcome the country�s energy shortages. It was after acting Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi had declared a motion for vote of thanks to the president adopted by a voice vote at the end of a debate on last month�s presidential address to parliament that PML-N lawmakers shouted �no�, only to be ignored by the chair. PML-N backbenchers had earlier moved to forward rows apparently on instructions to look, or sound, more impressive when the formal motion expressing the house�s �deep gratitude� to the president for his annual March 22 address to a joint sitting of the two houses of parliament was put to vote. But after members of the ruling PPP and their allies voted �ayes� in support of the motion, PML-N members, for some unexplained reason, did not quickly respond when the chair called for the negative vote, and shouted �no� after the motion was declared carried. A second embarrassment for the PML-N came later after opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan objected to Thursday�s decision by a house business advisory committee, on which PML-N was represented, to recess the present session until May 9 to prepare for the energy debate from that date, saying the long recess would cost heavy expenditure in daily allowances for 342 house members at the rate of Rs3,750 per day and that the PML-N would not attend if those allowances were paid or if the session were not brought forward to next Monday after the usual two-day weekend. PPP chief whip Khursheed Ahmed Shah told the house that the advisory committee had decided for an adjournment because a prorogation would have entitled the MNAs to charge traveling allowance for a fresh session that would have probably cost more and said the members could forgo the daily allowance if they wanted. Chaudhry Nisar later said his party could agree to a debate even if it were delayed to some days just before the next budget. PML-Q parliamentary leader Faisal Saleh Hayat supported the idea of holding the energy debate from Monday, but the chair ruled to stick to the committee decision as demanded by another PML-Q member Amir Muqam and PPP-S leader Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao. Kashmir Affairs Minister Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo was the only speaker of the day who wound up the debate on the presidential address. He cited the oft-claimed achievements of the PPP-led coalition government. While talking of the government�s reconciliation policy, he referred to recent PPP contacts with former political foes in the PML-Q and said �nobody should have any objection if things have moved forward�. Earlier, the house passed a long-pending bill to provide for the reorganisation of the statistical system in Pakistan, to make it more responsive to national requirements by merging the present data-collecting organisations or attached departments into an autonomous Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.
By: Dawn News