PPP, PML-Q clash in PA over Moonis’ arrest | Pakistan Today

PPP, PML-Q clash in PA over Moonis’ arrest

LAHORE – The steady improvement of relations between the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) suffered a setback on Friday as the two opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly bickered on Friday over PML-Q Provincial Assembly Member (MPA) Moonis Elahi’s arrest by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The rift between the two rivals of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) provincial government badly disturbed assembly business as proceedings gave way to a sharp political debate on the issue of Elahi’s arrest.
The war of words between PML-Q and PPP lawmakers began after the PML-Q’s Chaudhry Zaheer-ud-Din declared Interior Minister Rehman Malik responsible for the MPA’s arrest, which he said was political victimisation. He said, however, that it was not the entire PPP and its leadership that was responsible, but only Malik as the FIA fell under the authority of his ministry. He rejected the notion that his party’s leaders had met the president and prime minister to ease matters for Elahi and said the meeting was to save the PPP-led government from being “blackmailed” by some parties who were threatening to quit the coalition.
He said Elahi was an honourable member of the house but the speaker was not informed of his arrest as per rules of the house. He demanded the speaker take serious notice of the violation. PML-Q MPAs began shouting slogans against FIA Director Zafar Qureshi and questioned why the courts were not opening the case of Hudabiya Mills, which was related to the PML-N. The Treasury benches also supported the PML-Q by thumping their desks. Several PPP MPAs including Ashraf Sohna, Nargis Faiz Malik, Sajida Mir, Chaudhry Tahir Mehmood Hundli and Azma Bukhari stood on their seats to protest against the PML-Q’s allegations.
When the speaker took notice of the fact that he was not informed of Elahi’s arrest, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said he had tried to contact the authorities concerned to get the relevant information but no officer was available, so now he had given orders to the Police Punjab inspector general and the home secretary to submit a report on the matter. Sajida Mir suggested that the speaker issue a production order for Elahi’s release following Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s precedent when he, as the National Assembly speaker, had issued release orders for the detained Shaikh Rasheed and Nelofar Bakhtiar.
PPP’s Hassan Murtaza said that instead of giving attention to the real issues of the province, the PML-N government involved itself in affairs that were detrimental to the interests of the people while doctors, lawyers and civil servants demanded a solution to inflation and low salaries. Sanaullah responded that almost all of the doctors’ demands had been met and the government was committed to raising their salaries as much as possible but they were being motivated by political forces to extend their strike. He told the house that the civil servants’ demands were for a pay raise as well, but the provincial government would have to bear a cost of Rs 26 billion to 38 billion in order to raise their salaries.
Azma Bukhari of the PPP brought up the issue of State Life Insurance Housing Society and claimed that innocent citizens were defrauded of Rs 5 billion in the residential scheme and accused the Punjab government of being directly involved in the scam. She also read out documents related to the alleged fraud. Unification Bloc MPA Sheikh Alauddin endorsed Azma’s claims and presented an adjournment motion in the house to investigate the alleged scam.



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