Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has urged the opposition to delink their demand of amending the NAB law with legislation relating to fulfilling international obligations to bring Pakistan out of Financial Action Task Force’s grey list.
Speaking on floor of the House, he said the PTI government is trying hard to block Indian efforts to keep Pakistan in FATF grey list. He said it is an open policy of the Indian government to push Pakistan from grey to black list of the FATF. He said Indian intentions to push Pakistan towards the black list are aimed at getting international economic sanctions imposed on our country, which will naturally harm foreign investment and create unemployment.
The Minister said that the opposition has proposed 35 amendments in the NAB law in exchange of its cooperation for legislation on issues relating to FATF. He said it is not possible for Prime Minister Imran Khan to compromise its core agenda of fighting corruption and the opposition should reconsider its demand for amending the NAB law.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the amendments proposed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party, include applicability of accountability law from 16 November 1999, squeezing tenure of the NAB chairman, graft cases involving corruption of less than one billion rupees should stay out of NAB’s purview, and linking Pakistan’s law of evidence for legal assistance required for international cooperation by separating it from NAB.
He said opposition also wants to allow a person to become member of the parliament even if an individual is declared convicted by the NAB and his or her appeal is pending before the concerned forum.
He said the PML-N and the PPP has proposed that a person, declared disqualified for holding public office on charges of corruption for 10 years, should be reduced to five years.
He said their demands include that any case older than five years should not fall in the ambit of the NAB law. Moreover, they have also proposed deletion of six different offences like cheating at public at large.
The Minister said the opposition should review and reconsider their demands in the best interest of the country.
He said if these 35 amendments proposed by the opposition are approved it will deprive Pakistan of the gains it can achieve through the legislation to bring the country out of FATF’s grey list to white list.
The Foreign Minister, however, made it clear that the government has no intention to extend tenure of the incumbent chairman NAB.
Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaisar has remarked that all ethnicities living in Pakistan are equal and nobody will be allowed to use derogatory language against any group of people.
He made these remarks, while responding to a Calling Attention notice moved by Sher Akbar Khan and Mohsin Dawar regarding failure of PEMRA to take action against derogatory contents of dramas on private TV channels attributed to Pashtoons and an objectionable lesson titled “Seven Foolish Men” in English text book for Grade 5, published by M/S Gaba Educational Book Publisher, Private Limited attributed to district Buner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Referring the matter to the concerned standing committee of the House, the Speaker said all citizens are equal in the eyes of the Constitution and law.
Responding to the Calling Attention Notice, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said any conspiracy to stoke hated against one another amongst various ethnicities of the country will not succeed. He informed the House that the above mentioned book is not part of the curriculum of any government school.