Members of an NA committee on Friday protested against a list allegedly issued by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) which is said to contain the names of over 37 lawmakers suspected of having links with banned terrorist and sectarian outfits.
The list first came to light when a private television channel aired a report claiming that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had directed the IB on July 10 — three weeks before his disqualification — to keep watch on the listed legislators, mostly belonging to the PML-N.
The issue was raised during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi earlier this week.
A number of ministers whose names were on the "fabricated" list claimed that the report sought to damage their reputations and called for strict action to be taken against the "plotters", as the IB had denied receiving any such directives from the Prime Minister’s Office or possessing any such list.
The list contained the names of a number of key ministers — including Riaz Pirzada, Zahid Hamid, Baleeghur Rehman, Sikandar Bosan and Hafiz Abdul Kareem, as well as National Assembly Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi and a handful of senators.
Protesting against the list of names, the NA Standing Committee on Procedure and Privileges decided to summon the IB director general (DG) to provide clarification on the matter, as the intelligence agency had denied the media reports.
"Has the IB been formed to [keep vigilance of] parliament members?" lawmakers attending the meeting wondered.
"Through a list, we (members of the parliament) have been labelled terrorists," members of the committee said, noting that serious allegations had been levelled against at least seven ministers named in the list.
The IB, through its director, lodged a complaint against ARY News and its programme "Power Play's" host for airing the "fabricated news story", a Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) handout said today.
Pemra forwarded the complaint to the Council of Complaints for further action, the press release added.
'Lawmakers ask for leases'
The committee also discussed the matter pertaining to the non-issuance of loans to politicians, claiming that lawmakers are being humiliated by banks. The members also expressed their frustration regarding the non-availability of credit cards.
A Finance Ministry official told the committee that, under international law against money laundering, certain personalities are restricted from receiving loans.
"Fingers are already being pointed at Pakistan. If the law is touched, further problems will be created for the country," the official observed.
The members of the committee subsequently suggested that cars, credit cards and loans be issued on leases.
Correction: An earlier version of this story reported a Senate body had protested against the alleged IB list. The error is regretted.