ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday formed a ministerial committee to probe a recently surfaced video in which some members of provincial assembly (MPAs) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can be seen receiving bundles of cash allegedly to support some candidates in the Senate elections held in 2018.
The three-member committee comprises federal Minster for Science & Technology Fawad Chaudhry, federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar.
The committee has been tasked to ascertain the facts against those involved in the scam and will forward its recommendations to the prime minister in one month.
Talking to Dawn, Mr Akbar said that apparently former president and co-chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari was behind the `selling and buying’ of 21 Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MPAs during the 2018 Senate polls.
“It was obvious that PTI MPAs were purchased by PPP as Asif Zardari had already announced that people will see what he will do in March,” Mr Akbar said.
Responding to a question, he said the government would conduct a detailed investigation to ascertain as to who was giving the money in the video, who was the beneficiary and who was the financier?
Asked when the government had taken action against its own PMAs, it must know the other side of the picture as to who had purchased the vote of PMAs, the adviser said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and cabinet members came to know about the video during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday and now it would be decided that what action should be taken against the purchaser.
“We will also request the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to take its own action too against those involved in the horse trading,” he said.
Prime Minister Khan had already expelled 20 PMAs from the party after they were found involved in the horse trading while KP Finance Minister Sultan Muhammad was expelled on Tuesday.
Mr Akbar said that some of the ousted MPAs had moved the court against the prime minister for removing them from the party while one had sworn on Holy Quran that he was innocent.
When contacted, PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said that two MPAs had claimed that Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser were behind the scam as they had purchased their own party PMAs so that they could not vote in favour of other parties.
He rejected allegation that Mr Zardari was buying PTI members and said it had been experienced in the past that sometimes MPAs of own party were purchased so that they remained loyal to their party.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2021