Pakistan News

PTI lawmakers will return to standing committees

PTI lawmakers will return to standing committees

ISLAMABAD: After a 53-day boycott of parliament, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday gave party lawmakers the go-ahead to begin attending the proceedings of parliamentary bodies such as standing committees of the Senate and National Assembly.

The party also released a brief video on the Panamagate scandal, highlighting the contradictory statements of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the children of the prime minister.

According to a party official, the decision to attend the standing committees’ meetings was taken in a meeting held at the residence of the PTI chief at Banigala.

However, the PTI will continue its boycott of the regular sessions of both houses of parliament until a decision in the Panamagate case, currently pending before the Supreme Court.

“The decision has been taken to allow PTI MNAs to attend standing committee meetings of the National Assembly so they can make a contribution towards policymaking,” PTI spokesperson Naeemul Haq told Dawn.

“Imran Khan was of the view that important legislation is taking place in parliament these days, therefore PTI leaders should not give members of treasury benches an open field to enact legislation that suits them,” the party official said.

He said that important laws related to the inquiry commission act — that may affect the Panamagate case — the 24th amendment and electoral reforms were being considered, making the PTI’s presence imperative to keep a check on legislation and ensure they are being enacted for the betterment of people, not to protect the rulers.

The PTI has boycotted standing committee meetings since Oct 4, when it distanced itself from a joint sitting of parliament, called to discuss atrocities by occupying forces in India-held Kashmir.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and opposition parties, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had criticised the PTI for staying away from parliament.

PTI parliamentarians are usually quite vocal in standing committee meetings, pointing out loopholes and discrepancies in government affairs, and their absence has been conspicuous.

Also on Sunday, the party released a short video highlighting the contradictory statements of Prime Minister Sharif, his brother Shahbaz, and children — Hasan, Hussain and Maryam.

“The documentary film shows video clippings, statements and interviews of Sharif family members regarding their assets and offshore companies. It also highlights political statements where they made unfulfilled claims regarding loadshedding or attacks on political opponents,” a party official told Dawn. Clips from the video have already been shown at different public meetings.

Published in Dawn November 28th, 2016

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