Sunday Dec 20, 2020
LAHORE: Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla on Sunday said that warrants can be issued to summon anyone before the Senate and if National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal does not appear before the Senate, warrants for him will be issued.
He was addressing a press conference in Lahore during which he talked about the list of complaints the Senate has received from different people pertaining to NAB's maltreatment and the failure by political parties to improve the NAB ordinance when they had a chance.
Mandviwalla blamed political parties for not making amendments to the NAB ordinance because of which it started intervening in every institution of the country.
He said that the government had issued an ordinance to limit the powers of NAB and confine its role to government and public corruption, but political parties could not reach a consensus on that.
"The government held several meetings with the Opposition regarding the matter of NAB's ordinance but they could not come to an agreement," Mandviwalla said.
"As a result, the ordinance lapsed and NAB was given a chance to intervene in every institution of the country, including private businesses and bureaucracy."
The Senate deputy chairman said that NAB is intervening in everything now, including issues related to under-invoicing, and import and import cases, which is not its domain.
"The Senate has received a long list of complaints from businessmen in the United States and Canada, who said that they had to leave the country because NAB harassed them," he said.
He said that NAB has pervasively entered into Pakistan’s society. “NAB tortures people so much that they become helpless to do anything.”
“They force these helpless people to enter into a plea bargain," said the deputy Senate chairman, adding: "What does a businessman have to do with NAB’s work?”
Mandviwalla, in sarcasm, said that at this rate all institutions should be closed down and NAB should be made in charge. He said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) have been rendered useless and “have no value” because of NAB.
He said that every institution must do its own accountability. If there are allegations against parliamentarians, the parliament must probe the matter and hold them accountable in case of wrongdoing.
Speaking of the Senate elections scheduled in March but which the government is planning to hold earlier, the deputy chairman said that “no one can alter the schedule for Senate elections”.
Senators will retire in March after which the schedule will be released. “They can continue to say what they wish,” he said, referring to the back and forth in the narrative between the government and the Opposition regarding the elections.
Mandviwalla said that the Opposition’s decision to resign en masse from the assemblies is up to them. “If they feel it is the right thing to do, then that’s their choice.”
He said that such things take place elsewhere in the world where there is a no-confidence motion passed in parliaments and that it was "not an unusual thing". He said PTI lawmakers had also resigned and then these were taken back.