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Too little, too late Opposition heaps scorn at ‘token’ bill on Panamagate

ISLAMABAD: A government attempt to mollify the opposition on the Panamagate scandal backfired on Thursday when opposition parties rallied against the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill, 2016.

The bill proposes the creation of a fact-finding commission to probe the Panamagate scandal. The Pakistan Peoples Party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamaat-e-Islami denounced the move, questioning both the timing and motives of the ruling party.

In protest, the PPP staged a walkout from the lower house of parliament.

PPP lawmaker Naveed Qamar censured the government over the move. “Why did the government table the bill at a time when the Supreme Court is hearing the case?” asked Qamar.

According to him, the bill mimicked the Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Act of 1956.

He said that if the government was serious on the issue, it should have moved the bill moved by the joint opposition, adding that the draft bill had already been tabled in the Senate.

Referring to the apex court proceedings, he said that the court would not wait for this bill. “It is too little, too late,” he said. “Why should the judges wait for it anyway? This bill is unacceptable to the public,” he added.

SA Iqbal Qadri of the MQM believed that the house was not entitled to pass this bill under Article 142 of the Constitution.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah said that after viewing the bill, it seemed that the government wanted to promote corruption, instead of eradicating it.

Earlier, Shah criticised the government for not having a clear-cut stand against Modi-led Indian government despite its unprovoked violations on the Line of Control (LoC).

He also raised questions on Pakistan’s participation in the ‘Heart of Asia Conference’, being held in India. He said Pakistan should have participated in the conference if its venue was moved to Afghanistan or Japan.

“India committed 230 violations at the LoC and although one cannot stop Indian aggression by issuing statements condemning it. The government needs to expose India on all international forums. We are a nuclear power and we also want peace, but it takes two to tango,” he said.

He said that he believed that the government should have made parliament stronger in the backdrop of the Indian atrocities.”

In response, Abdul Qadir Baloch rose and pointed out that “Pakistani troops (stationed) at the LoC cannot open fire on civilians as the Indian troops do … If India imposes a war on Pakistan, I assure you that Indian losses would be far higher than those suffered by Pakistan.”

Baloch’s remarks against ‘Hindus’ created uproar in the opposition benches, firing up Ramesh Lal of PPP who agitated against it. But Baloch apologised and said that it was a mere slip of the tongue and he meant ‘Hindustan’.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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