18th amend can be revisited with no compromise on autonomy: Saad

Updated 07 May 2020

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PML-N leader maintains that no one from the government had contacted his party on the issue of the amendment. — APP/File
PML-N leader maintains that no one from the government had contacted his party on the issue of the amendment. — APP/File

LAHORE: Former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq said on Wednesday the 18th amendment, being a man-made law, could be revisited before the house.

He said the 18th amendment had been introduced after a lengthy process of deliberations and consultations among all political parties from all the provinces. He said any party having reservations over any component of the amendment should bring the matter to the assembly for an open discussion.

However, he stated that there should be no compromise on autonomy of the provinces given to them under the amendment.

He was talking to the media outside accountability courts where he along with his younger brother Khwaja Salman Rafiq had come to attend trial proceedings of Paragon City reference against them.

Mr Saad, a senior leader of PML-N and a sitting MNA, maintained that no one from the government side had contacted his party on the issue of the amendment.

He also claimed that the proposed changes to the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 had nothing to do with any amendment [in the 18th amendment].

He said the PML-N had no offer from the government on changing the NAB law on condition of changes to the 18th amendment nor it will be a part of any such bargain.

Mr Salman, also a former provincial health minister, expressed dissatisfaction over the government’s measures to fight coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the court summoned former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt, an approver in the case, and witnesses on next hearing. A prosecutor told the court that Butt could not appear due to health complications. The hearing was adjourned till June 2.

Na session: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday presided over a meeting of the party leaders here on Wednesday and discussed the strategy regarding the National Assembly session starting on May 11.

Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Khwaja Asif, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Maryam Aurangzeb attended the meeting.

PML-N on Tuesday agreed to withdraw its requisition notice after the government announced that it would convene the National Assembly session on May 11.

The government and the opposition had reached an understanding for convening the session of the assembly under strict adherence to health guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for ensuring safety of the members and the staff of the National Assembly Secretariat.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2020