Early Senate elections unconstitutional, insists deputy chairman

Published December 18, 2020
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala  has called the federal government’s decision about early Senate elections unconstitutional. — Dawn/File
Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala has called the federal government’s decision about early Senate elections unconstitutional. — Dawn/File

PESHAWAR: Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala on Thursday declared the federal government’s decision about early Senate elections unconstitutional and said those elections would be held in line with the laid-down procedure and schedule only after the retiring Senators completed their term.

“The government’s desire to hold the Senate polls before schedule can’t be fulfilled unless a necessary amendment is made to the Constitution,” Mr Mandviwala told members of the business community on the premises of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

The Senate deputy chairman asked the SCCI to send the businesspersons’ complaints of harassment against the National Accountability Bureau and Federal Board of Revenue to the Upper House of Parliament for discussion.

He said the Senate would make an effective strategy against illegal actions of the NAB and FBR in light of the complaints of business community.

“Whoever is facing problems regarding NAB should contact the SCCI and ask it to forward their complaints to the Senate for discussion,” he said.

Mr Mandviwala said businessmen and private individuals shouldn’t become victims of the anti-graft watchdog’s illegal actions.

Mandviwalla asks SCCI to submit complaints against NAB, FBR to Senate

He said the NAB actions had created unrest among the business community and therefore, measures should be taken immediately to address it.

The Senate deputy chairman said the roles of all institutions were well-defined, so they shouldn’t act beyond them to interfere in the affairs of others.

He said the NAB shouldn’t meddle in the work of FBR.

“The FBR should be dissolved if the NAB has to do its job,” he said.

Mr Mandviwala said members of the business community had begun complaining against the NAB about harassment and if that continued, the national economy would suffer.

He said for the first time, the Senate would discuss the NAB affairs in order to decide if private businesses fall in the domain of the anti-corruption watchdog or not.

“We have requisitioned a session of the Senate, where educational qualifications of the NAB officials will also come under discussion,” he said.

The Senate deputy chairman said he had received complaints of harassment from businesspersons based in different cities of the country, including Islamabad.

He also said he had written letters to the prime minister, Supreme Court chief justice and chief of the army staff to share concerns about the NAB actions with them.Mr Mandviwala asked the government should fulfil its prime duties of controlling price hike and unemployment and providing financial relief to the people instead of making tall claims about good governance.

He said the business community should have representation in parliament to point out their issues.

The Senate deputy chairman said legislation was not the job of the Supreme Court, which could only ask parliament to review certain laws.

Earlier, SCCI president Sherbaz Bilour said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were subjected to the prolonged loadshedding of electricity and natural gas though the province produced more electricity and gas than its needs and such a conduct went against Article 158 of the Constitution.

He said after the approval of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, there was no room to deny the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa their natural resources.

Businessmen Zahidullah Shinwari, Ghazanfar Bilour, Malik Niaz Ahmad, Fazal Muqeem and Engineer Mansoor Elahi also spoke about the problems of their community and demanded their early yet effective resolution by the government.

The meeting was also attended by SCCI vice-president Junaid Altaf, Senator Beharmand Tangi, former MPA Ziaullah Afridi, former senior vice-president Shahid Hussain, former vice-presidents Abdul Jalil Jan and Abidullah Yousafzai, and members of the chamber’s executive committee Kamran Zeb, Mujeebur Rehman, Malik Mohsin Sajjad, Mohammad Naeem Butt, Mohammad Tariq, Mohammad Sajjad, Mohammad Aurangzeb and Faiz Rasool.

Published in Dawn, December 18th, 2020

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