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ISLAMABAD: Senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and former speaker of National Assembly (NA) Sardar Ayaz Sadiq on Wednesday called for placing the entire staff of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) along with the NAB chairman on the Exit Control List (ECL) for their alleged corruption during the past four years.

Addressing a press conference here along with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman and Member of National Assembly (MNA) Shahida Akhtar Ali of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), Sadiq accused the NAB of turning a blind eye to the wrongdoing of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government and targeting their rivals.

Sadiq said the NAB was wrong to believe that it could go scot-free for all its “malpractices”. “We were always sure of a nexus between Imran Khan and the NAB, and this connection proved true with time.” He also demanded that an investigation into the extravagant lifestyle and “living beyond means” of all the NAB officials should be conducted.

About resignations submitted by the PTI lawmakers in the NA, Sadiq alleged that the PTI did not intend to resign from assemblies and that “they are just creating a fake impression on the issue”.

He explained that there was a proper procedure to submit a resignation, which included appearing in person before the speaker. “Resignations are not given the way the PTI has submitted them. They deliberately avoided rules for the process.”

The former speaker said Khan was “forcing” the PTI lawmakers to resign and submitting their resignations to Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri. He elaborated that the resignation from the NA as per law, every member should appear in person and submit their resignation to the speaker. He added that there are some conditions and questions that are noted before the acceptance of the resignation. To a question about the reservations of the MQM-P, Sadiq said the former was a part of the government and an agreement was already in place with them.

Speaking on the occasion, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate Sherry Rehman claimed that Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri was once again violating the law and is going to accept the resignation of the PTI members without verification.

She said, “Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri is once again going to violate the law. This time, it is on “coerced, irregular and fake” resignations. Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri claims he has verified the signatures, however, that is not the case.”

She stated, “According to the National Assembly Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business, Section 43, every member must individually appear before the Speaker in the presence of the Assembly Secretariat to verify his/her signature and confirm their resignation. This procedure has not been followed as the PTI MNAs presented a jointly signed document. Numerous PTI MNAs have come forth stating the current procedure followed by the PTI is not only illegal but also unjust as they “do not wish to resign yet are being forced to”. Some members are saying that their signatures “have been forged”, and the NA secretariat is being “coerced” to accept these. The Election Commission must take notice of these violations and the National Assembly Secretariat must be directed to ensure that the correct constitutional procedure for resignations be followed.”

She said that “we are confident of our growing majority and will continue to press forward with our agenda of ridding the parliament of all those subverting the rules and procedures of the parliament”.

Rehman said, “the PPP and the joint opposition after a long drawn out battle have ousted the “destructive, divisive, and self-obsessed” PTI government through a democratic and constitutional path of a vote of no confidence. The whole country has borne witness to their shameful subversions of the law; they have had one goal from the start and that is to maintain their offices regardless of the cost to the country. Our point is that the cost should not be to the people of Pakistan.”

She further said that the PTI style of politics was giving rise to hatred and chaos in the country. “The charged followers of Imran Khan are setting a very dangerous trend in the country, and the PTI leadership is responsible for that because the workers usually do on social media as well as in everyday life what their leadership asks them to do,” she said.

“An anti-American narrative is being developed to avoid questions about performance. People are fed up with your narratives, for they know that your new narrative is no different from your past attempts to gain votes,” she said to the PTI leadership.

She stated that the PTI’s narrative against corruption was also “a lie”, adding that before the PTI government, Pakistan was ranked 117th in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI). “But, it was ranked 140th in 2021 in the CPI due to the PTI government.”

The PPP leader said that the narrative of corruption and accountability had been exposed, and therefore, the PTI was looking for a new narrative in “threat letter”.

Speaking on the occasion, JUI leader Shahida Akhtar Ali said that the PTI’s politics are all about dual standards, saying the PTI in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province has announced to complete the five-year term while in the Punjab and in Centre, the party has a different stance. She said in the past four years the PTI government did not let any institution perform independently as a result all the departments and institutions have become dysfunctional.

She said that the day the PTI government was ousted through a vote of no-confidence the Pak rupee against the US dollar gained and Pakistan Stock Exchange gained highest points in history.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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