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ISLAMABAD: Senator Mohsin Aziz from the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Friday asked the opposition lawmakers in Senate not to “equate their corruption cases with Malam Jabba case,” probed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), saying no one is ‘sacred cow’ or above accountability.

Speaking at the Senate sitting, Aziz responded to the comments made on the floor of the House by Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwalla earlier on Monday wherein he mentioned NAB’s alleged ‘excesses’ on some senators including Mohsin Aziz.

Although, the motion against NAB was talked out and disposed of by Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani on Monday, but, Aziz, who was not present in that sitting, explained his stance regarding NAB on Friday.

“No one is sacred cow, no one is above accountability,” he said.

“It’s true that when NAB summoned me I was in Russia and I was quite disturbed with that development. It’s also true that I thought it was a bit unfair to summon me in this case. But he (Mandviwalla) should have mentioned this also—that I appeared before NAB twice — I presented myself for accountability — and I explained to them the factual position with reference to that case and I came out clean,” he said.

“It is very regrettable that people consider themselves as holy cows and above the law. They consider themselves too holy to be questioned—powerful—and beyond being investigated. I urge my brothers and sisters here that all of us joined hands to create this organisation (NAB), and if it summons us, we should not have any objection,” Aziz added.

“It is my complaint to my brothers and sisters sitting here—that they keep mentioning Malam Jabba case in talk shows and everywhere—whether you talk about BRT, Zardari, Omni Group or any corruption scandal—please don’t drag me into it. Please don’t equate your corruption with Malam Jabba case. I can present all the record and facts about Malam Jabba case. Truth is truth and lie is lie,” the senator said.

Earlier on Monday, speaking on the motion against NAB, the deputy chairman Senate said he was in Russia along with Mohsin Aziz on an official tour when Aziz received a text message that NAB initiated inquiry against him in Malam Jabba case. “I can tell you that Mohsin Aziz sahib was not in his senses (after he received the text message) —and he could not do that trip and he became, I should say, mentally and physically incapable of doing anything,” he said.

Meanwhile, opposition lawmakers in Senate on Friday strongly criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan for not visiting Quetta in the aftermath of Machh massacre. Senators from both sides of the aisle including Sassui Palijo, Usman Kakar, Atta-ur-Rehman, Behramand Tangi, Muhammad Khalid Bizenjo, newly elected Senator Nusrat Shaheen and Manzoor Ahmed Kakar took part in the debate.

Leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem came down hard on opposition for the agenda item “unprecedented crackdown on opposition workers.”

He said “This agenda item is as far from reality as Qatari letter is from Avenfield Apartments.”

Opposition lawmakers were crying foul to hide the corruption of their leaders, he said.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said opposition leaders were being arrested and government was trying to suppress opposition parties by using coercive methods. “The voices of dissent are being silenced. This government should learn to take criticism with an open heart and patience,” he said.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said those political leaders who were facing serious corruption cases in NAB were arrested and the allegation of arresting political workers was unfounded.

The enemies of Pakistan were trying to stoke fire in the country by trying to ignite sectarian and ethnic divide.

The motion regarding crackdown on opposition workers was talked out and disposed of before the Senate sitting was adjourned till Monday.

Earlier, at the start of the Senate sitting, Nusrat Shaheen from Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) took oath as a senator. She was elected unopposed on Senate’s Women seat from Balochistan that fell vacant due to the death of Kalsoom Parveen from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) last month. Kulsoom was one of the 52 senators retiring from Senate on the coming March 11 before she died of coronavirus. This implies that the newly elected senator will also retire in around or over two months depending on Senate elections schedule.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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