New NA committee to make changes to NAB lawsPakistan
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly formed on Tuesday a new parliamentary committee, which will take up all pending bills and amendments related to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
Law Minister Zahid Hamid proposed the formation of the committee after several members moved at least four bills and amendments meant to amend the National Accountability Ordinance 1999, as well the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947, along with the relevant sections of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Speaker Ayaz Sadiq sought the sense of the house on Mr Zahid’s proposal after MQM’s Sheikh Salahuddin introduced the first private members’ bill before the house.
The speaker observed that others, including PPP’s Imran Zafar Leghari and PTI’s Dr Arif Alvi, had also introduced bills seeking to amend these laws. But while representatives of nearly all parties agreed with the suggestion, they were apprehensive about the timeframe of such a committee.
“Please see if you can make them move faster on this,” Mr Leghari quipped when the speaker asked him if he agreed with the suggestion.
At this, the speaker directed Mr Hamid to complete consultations as soon as possible and form a committee of no more than a dozen members, ensuring representation of all parliamentary parties.
When JI’s Sher Akbar Khan introduced his bill, asking that provincial departments also be brought under the purview of NAB, the speaker noted that this was in contradiction with a bill introduced by Mr Leghari, who was asking for NAB’s jurisdiction to be limited to federal departments.
Speaking on points of order, two Hindu MNAs invited the attention of the house to the recent unrest in Daharki and Mirpur Mathelo areas of Ghotki district, where life was all but paralysed and at least one person killed in riots following an alleged incident of sacrilege late last month.
Insisting that this incident was ‘engineered’ to cause unrest among the Hindu community in Sindh, PTI’s Lal Chand Malhi made an impassioned appeal on the house floor for intelligence agencies to investigate the matter and punish those who were responsible for this “mischief”.
Indicating that there was more to the issue than meets the eye, Mr Malhi said that such incidents were obviously attempts to shatter peace in Sindh and divide communities along religious lines.
He said that the family of Satish Kumar, the youth who was killed in the riots following the alleged incident of sacrilege, still feared for their lives and were not willing to lodge an FIR of his murder.
Mr Malhi demanded that the state become a complainant in this case so that the senseless killing of a young man did not go unpunished.
PPP’s Ramesh Lal told Dawn that he was in touch with Ghotki SSP Masud Bangash and a case would be registered against the young man’s murderers.
The house also witnessed controversy during debate on a resolution condemning last month’s terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, including a bombing at Masjid-i-Nabvi in Madina.
Moved by Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Mohammad Yousuf, the resolution was prepared by the NA Secretariat on the orders of the speaker.
Supporting the resolution on her party’s behalf, PTI’s Shireen Mazari asked the government to tell the house whether Saudi Arabia had ever reciprocated in the same manner, condemning terrorist attacks in Pakistan, or the recent bloodshed in India-held Kashmir.
This seemed to rile up the treasury benches, who rose one after the other in an attempt to embarrass Ms Mazari. Retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, who never lets such matter slide, seized the opportunity to question Ms Mazari’s upbringing, even suggesting that she should embark on a 40-day Tableeghi Jamaat course to brush up on her religious education.
This did not sit well with Ms Mazari, who took exception to Capt Safdar’s remarks. However, the MNA from Mansehra was unrepentant, claiming that it was ‘un-Islamic’ to ask for reciprocal treatment from a brother Muslim country such as Saudi Arabia.''
Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2016