PA condemns Khursheed Shah’s arrest

September 21, 2019

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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday condemned the arrest of senior Pakistan Peoples Party leader Khursheed Shah by the National Accountability Bureau and termed it “selective accountability” to victimise political adversaries of the federal government.

A resolution in this regard was moved out of turn by PPP’s Marui Rashdi; thereafter opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s lawmakers started leaving. They were not seen in the house when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani put the resolution for voting.

Other lawmakers belonging to the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Grand Democratic Alliance remained in the house. Two members of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan did not oppose the resolution either.

Asks Centre to shun ‘selective’ accountability

However, they did not participate in the voting when the chair sought the house’s verdict on the resolution. Thus, for all technical reasons, the resolution was passed unanimously.

The resolution reads: “This house vehemently condemns the arrest of Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, one of the senior-most parliamentarians in the country, on the basis of selective accountability.

“This blatant act has exposed the nefarious designs of the federal government of selective accountability against their political opponents.

“These pressure tactics cannot silence the opposition parties from raising voice against the illegal or unconstitutional practices of the federal government; such as selective accountability,” it added.

According to the resolution, the house recommended the Sindh government to approach the federal government to “shun the practice of selective accountability as this process is endangering the democratic norms of the country”.

Earlier, Ms Rashdi said Mr Shah was arrested by NAB when his case was merely in the inquiry stage without a formal reference.

She said NAB references were already pending against Prime Minister Imran Khan, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and other leaders of the PTI, including Dr Babar Awan and Liaquat Jatoi, but no action had been taken to move the files.

“Why only those belonging to the PPP are on the radar of NAB? Why the federal government is bent upon crushing its political adversaries? This will take us nowhere in the end,” she said.

Health Minister Azra Pechuho said that opposition lawmakers, particularly PPP politicians, were being targeted. “They are targeting our stalwarts and cadres to dislodge the Sindh government, which is being ably run by the PPP.”

PPP’s Sohrab Sarki said Mr Shah’s life was a success story similar to many personalities in the country where he gained prominence from scratch with a persistent struggle throughout his life.

Imdad Pitafi said the federal government was employing such tactics to only hide its unprecedented failures.

Nimirta’s death termed ‘cold-blood murder’

In his calling-attention notice, GDA’s Nand Kumar spoke at length about the alleged murder of Nimirta Chandani, a medical student of Bibi Aseefa Dental College Larkana.

Asking the provincial government to highlight what steps it had taken to investigate the mysterious death, he claimed all evidence suggested it was a “cold blood murder”.

“It is a murder and not a suicide as being claimed,” he said, adding: “The post-mortem report, for all reasons, is a forged document prepared by a junior doctor that itself shows how such a huge case is being swept under the rug.”

He appreciated the provincial government for constituting a medical board to investigate the death and demanded that the judicial inquiry of the case be conducted by a high court judge instead of a sessions judge.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said the provincial government was extremely serious about the case. “The government itself wants to know the truth and ample progress had been made in the case.”

About judicial inquiry by a high court judge, he said the Sindh High Court had directed in a case earlier that such judicial inquiries should be conducted by the sessions judges of the districts concerned.

He said the government had also notified a judicial commission to probe into the recent violence in Ghotki district.

On the investigation of Nimirta’s death, he added, the judicial probe would be complete in 31 days and it would be made public as soon as the report arrived. “The case will soon be solved.”

During his briefing to the house about the medical student’s death, an altercation arose between the minister and PTI’s Khurrum Sher Zaman.

The minister was not happy to see the PTI lawmaker “continuously interrupting the house without honouring the gravity of the issue”.

Speaker Durrani also expressed his anguish over Mr Zaman, saying the latter “does things to disturb the house always”.

Earlier, the chair expressed solidarity on behalf of the Sindh Assembly with the people of Kashmir when a delegation led by the speaker of Azad Kashmir arrived in the house to witness its proceedings.

Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2019