pakistan
Friday Nov 19 2021
By
Web Desk

'Even Namaz time was not spared for rigging': Shahbaz on passage of NAB supplementary bill

By
Web Desk
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif. — AFP

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on Friday decried the "use of namaz time" by the government for the passage of the National Accountability Amendment Bill 2021.

In a statement on Twitter shared by PML-N, Shahbaz was quoted as saying: "Approval of NAB supplementary bill after bulldozing legislation in the joint sitting of Parliament is open malice."

The Opposition leader said that the government, "like thieves made use of namaz time and passed the NAB supplementary bill via rigging".

"Even namaz time was not spared for rigging. Is this the democracy and transparency [you claim to uphold]?" he asked.

"Getting the NAB bill approved by introducing a supplementary agenda is a fascist move by a fascist government," he added.

Shahbaz said that the government's "dictatorial traditions have turned Parliament into an arena, which is regrettable and reprehensible".

"This is not legislation, it is a terrible joke played with Parliament, Constitution and the people," he said.

'Members left for Friday prayers'

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, too, reacted strongly over the move, saying that "what was left of Parliament in the Senate was destroyed today".

Detailing the series of events that unfolded, she said that the treasury introduced a supplementary agenda at 12:35pm, "without laying bills, and just called in members to bulldoze a NAB bill".

"From now on, the Senate too will not run," she remarked, terming it a "blackday" in parliamentary history.

Referring to the government as the "tabahi sarkar" (a regime that brings about destruction), she said it is "unwilling to allow the provinces to speak or breathe" and that questions on the sovereignty of Pakistan, whether regarding the deal with the International Monetary Fund or amnesty deals, are not heard.

"They are unwilling to hear us on the census, or water, or any resource share of the provinces, as that is what the Senate does," Rehman said.

She went on to share a copy of the NAB bill, saying that it was laid "literally after voting when members had left for Friday prayers".

"Leader of the Opposition's office had been told all bills will go to respective standing committees but were not sent," she added.

"The same was done to person specific HEC bill," the PPP leader said.

Rehman clarified that the Opposition did not oppose the Journalist Protection bill, but had only asked for it to go to the standing committee, as it had asked for other bills.

Protection of journalists bill, several others pushed through Senate

The government managed to have several bills passed in Senate today despite outcry from Opposition lawmakers.

The Upper House approved the NAB Amendment bill, which was presented by Federal Minister for Law Dr Farogh Naseem, and the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Amendment bill presented by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Ali Mohammad Khan.

Furthermore the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals bill, introduced by Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, was passed after 35 votes were given in favour of the bill while 29 voted against it.

An independent group led by Senator Dilawar Khan also supported the government in its bid to have the bill passed.

The Opposition protested against the government's move to include the bill as an additional item in today's agenda, with lawmakers shouting "Rubber Stamp Parliament unacceptable".