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NA adopts contempt of court bill amid protests

July 09, 2012


Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf addressing the National Assembly. — File Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday adopted the contempt of court bill amid protest and walkout from the main opposition party PML-N, which also boycotted the session over resumption of Nato supplies, DawnNews reported.

The bill will provide a shelter to top government officials against contempt of court proceedings.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) staged protest against the bill and walked out from the session. Earlier, the party also protested the resumption of Nato supplies before the start of the session.

Moreover, the bill to provide former PM Gilani’s actions a cover and the 21st amendment bill on judges’ pension were also tabled in the house.

The major opposition parties castigated the government's decision to reopen the Nato supply routes while the PML-N members staged a token walkout from the national assembly session in protest against the government's decision terming it violation of the decisions taken by the parliament and its committee on national security.

Speaking on a point of order, PML-N’s parliamentary leader in the national assembly, Sardar Mehtab Khan Abbasi, also demanded of the government to take parliament as well as the people of the country into confidence over the agreement(s) reached with the US administration as quid-pro-quo to open Nato supply routes.

He said that the parliament and the parliamentary committee on national security had not been taken on board about the government's agreements with the US for opening Nato supply routes. “Whether it was US pressure or any secret agreement, the government should take the parliament into confidence. If the government's decision satisfies us, we will support it,” he maintained.

Abbasi said that the government had also violated its commitment made to the parliamentary committee on national security (PCNS). He also castigated the communication of the government's decision to open the Nato supply routes even the meeting of Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) and said it was more painful that the decision was announced not by the government and rather the US secretary of state had made the announcement even before the meeting of the DCC.

He also criticized finance minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and claimed that the minister had played a key role in opening the Nato supply routes against release of $ 1.4 under the coalition support fund (CSF) just to meet the budgetary deficit.

Meanwhile Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the PCNS had taken six months to draft consensus recommendations which were also ratified by the parliament but the government ignored all the recommendations and opened the Nato supply routes.