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NA finance committee faces reshuffle as govt seeks to turn the tables

ISLAMABAD: With key regulations including the Companies Bill 2016 and the Specialised Companies Bill in the offing, the ruling party has started to strengthen its team in the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance.

The opposition parties have not only submitted a resolution in the Senate against the Companies Ordinance 2016, they have also demanded a thorough briefing over the bill in the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance.

The other two bills, expected in coming months, are related to the insurance sector and the specialised companies’ law related to non-banking financial companies, etc. Several regulatory functions are expected in the Standing Committee related to Islamic financing in near future.

Officials say the PML-N is strengthening itself to brace for other issues.

“It is not only delays in law making but the overall performance of the PML-N members in the finance committee has been submissive, whereas the opposition members have dominated the proceedings,” said a senior official of the Ministry of Finance. “Despite having vast majority, the PML-N members have failed to counter allegations against their leaderships in the committee mainly over money laundering.”

With Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf rejoining parliamentary proceedings, two of its members Asad Umar and Jehangir Tareen are set to play an active role in the committee. This is a serious matter for the PML-N.

“Now we have decided to show the writ of government and deliberately delaying law making or holding briefings over Panama Papers issue repeatedly is not the right way,” said Mian Abdul Mannan, a senior member of the committee.

The PML-N has withdrawn three members Sardar Jafar Lehgari, Shazadi Umarzadi Tiwana, Alamdad Laleka and replaced them with Mohsin Ranjha, Talal Chaudhary and Dr Shezra Mansab Ali Khan Kharal.

Mr Ranjha and Mr Chaudhary are vocally active in the electronic media against the PTI. Dr Kharal is an MNA from general seat NA-137, Nankana Sahib-III (Old Sheikhupra-VII) and has a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow, UK.

However, Mian Abdul Mannan added that the members have been replaced as the attendance was very low and this allowed the opposition to dominate proceedings.

Out of 20 members of the committee, 12 are from the PML-N and eight are from the opposition parties including two from Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), three from the Pakistan Peoples Party, two of PTI and one from the Quami Watan Party-Sherpao.

However, a serious issue faced by PML-N in the committee is limited expertise of its members over financial and economic issues.

The combined opposition comprising of Asad Umar, Dr Nafisa Shah and Naveed Qamar – has mostly dominated the proceedings of the committee and whenever Rashid Godil of MQM joins the chorus, even the bureaucracy is seen sweating unable to answer their technical queries.

The committee chairman, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, acknowledged that he was leading a weak team.

“Asad Umar and Naveed Qamar are heavyweights in the field, while Mr Godil and Dr Nafisa are seasoned parliamentarians but we should concentrate on technical issues and law making only in the Standing Committee,” Mr Sheikh added.

Currently, the inactive members of the PML-N include Rana Shamim Ahmed Khan while Shaza Fatima Khawaja, who is the niece of Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and teaches at a prestigious business institute of Lahore and Leila Khan who is also chairperson PM’s Youth Loan Programme have hardly spoken in the committee.

Incidentally, one senior member of the committee stated that both Ms Khawaja and Ms Khan are young parliamentarians and are ‘shying away from speaking in front of seniors in the committee’.

courtesy : dawn news

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