NA extends Jadhav-related ordinance for four months

Updated 15 Sep 2020

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The NA also adopted motions seeking to refer two Financial Action Task Force-related bills to the joint sitting of parliament for consideration and passage. — APP/File
The NA also adopted motions seeking to refer two Financial Action Task Force-related bills to the joint sitting of parliament for consideration and passage. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday extended the International Court of Justice (Review and Re-consideration) Ordinance meant to facilitate convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav through a voice vote for four months.

The ordinance that was set to expire on Sept 17 allows the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operative, who was sentenced to death by a military court for fomenting terrorism in Pakistan, to file an appeal against his conviction in a high court.

The NA also adopted motions seeking to refer two Financial Action Task Force-related bills, which were passed by the lower house and rejected by the upper house of parliament last month, to the joint sitting of parliament for consideration and passage. The bills included Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Waqf Properties Bill.

The House also passed another FATF-related bill, the Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 without sending it to the relevant standing committee after the rules were suspended.

Opposition slams govt for protecting CCPO over motorway gang-rape

The bill is aimed at bringing more control and transparency in registration/regulations of Cooperative Societies in Islamabad and control terror financing through this channel.

On behalf of Interior Minister Brig (retired) Ijaz Shah, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan moved the bill to further amend the Cooperative Societies Act, 1925 [The Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the House.

The Statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill says that the FATF requires to amend the Cooperative Societies Act, 1925 in order to bring more control and transparency in Registration/ Regulations of Cooperative Societies in Islamabad.

Motorway gang-rape

Meanwhile, barbs flew in the National Assembly as the House held a debate on the recent motorway incident, with leader of the opposition Shahbaz Sharif demanding formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate delayed response by the relevant departments to the incident on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway, the controversial appointment to the office of Lahore CCPO and his egregious rape victim-blaming.

The PML-N president said Mr Khan’s criminal silence and his government’s gross mishandling of the heart-wrenching incident had brought shame to Pakistan in the entire world.

He said the prime minister had been missing in action for days and could not utter a single word to condemn this horrific incident. He said this was not the first time that Mr Khan had disappeared when the nation needed the leadership the most.

He also expressed outrage over the extensive delay in response to the incident as different departments tried to pass on the responsibility over the jurisdiction issue. He said priority should have been rapid response instead of procrastination by officials.

The opposition leader slammed CCPO Umar Sheikh’s remarks blaming the victim and said it was utterly shameful that the government tried to defend the CCPO instead of the victim.

He alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government appointed an official of questionable character to the important position of Punjab’s provincial capital police chief only to use him for political victimisation. However, he said the CCPO’s character was exposed within no time.

The PML-N president said he did not seek self-promotion but it was a fact that the state-of-the-art forensic lab that his government had established made it possible for police to identify and trace the culprits.

He reminded the House how the PTI and its leaders in the opposition had politicised the Zainab case during the previous PML-N government, but the entire opposition this time did not exploit the motorway gang-rape for political mileage. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the opposition was with the victim and the entire nation, he said, instead of protecting the controversial CCPO.

He also asked as to why the Punjab IGP’s letter written in July suggesting deployment of police on the motorway had been ignored. “This is criminal negligence,” he remarked.

He warned that such incidents would not stop if the federal government did not stop taking decisions of every provincial department with the only motive to persecute and victimise opposition parties, ripping meritocracy to shreds and appointing the most incompetent people to the highest posts. The country and its people could not be safe under an incompetent government and its incompetent appointees, he added.

The PML-N president said the PTI government had failed the country in every domain, from economy, to foreign policy, to disaster management and worst of all in maintaining law and order and ensuring the protection and security of the public life, property and dignity. “When the nation feels insecure the Prime Minister disappears,” he reiterated. He said the government would have to reset its direction, if it was serious about preventing reoccurrence of such incidents.

Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2020