PML-N, PPP criticised in Senate

Published February 9, 2022
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan (L) and Minister for Communications Murad Saeed (R) speak in the Senate on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan (L) and Minister for Communications Murad Saeed (R) speak in the Senate on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: Top leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) were criticised in the Senate on Tuesday over alleged mega corruption and money laundering amidst walkout by the opposition against ‘absence of ministers’.

The objection against absence of the minister concerned was raised by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami on the very first question pertaining to rising cases of AIDS in Pakistan, when Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan was on his feet to respond.

The opposition made it a point to stage a walkout from the house, leading to adjournment of the proceedings for 30 minutes.

During the opposition’s absence, it was pointed out that the question pertained to national health services, which has no minister, and that the special assistants to the prime minister cannot come to the house.

According to a notification issued by the cabinet division on May 28, 2019, the parliamentary affairs ministry is to reply to questions pertaining to ministries and divisions of which the prime minister is in charge.

The opposition’s decision to stay away from the house, however, provided an opportunity to the treasury benches to launch a blistering attack on PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari, who were accused of looting the national exchequer and stashing ill-gotten money abroad.

Minister for Communications Murad Saeed alleged that Nawaz Sharif had purchased properties in Mayfair and Avenfield from the kickbacks received in motorway contracts.

He informed the Senate that the revenue of the National Highway Authority (NHA) had increased by Rs103 billion after elimination of corruption and without raising toll tax.

The minister said a rest area had been leased out when Gen Musharraf was in power for a mere Rs1.7 million per annum and the subsequent PPP and PML-N governments extended the arrangement on the same terms.

“Now during Imran Khan’s term in office, the contract has been given through an open bidding which fetched Rs6.5m per month.”

He said 947km roads had been constructed during the PML-N government’s first three years in office, while the PTI government has so far completed 2,032km of roads while work on 2,067km was in progress.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan accused the PML-N and PPP of protecting mafias.

He said the presidential system was also a democratic form of government and there was no harm in initiating a debate on the issue.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2022

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