–Former PM Abbasi calls for parliamentary committee to probe ‘serious’ allegations
–‘If you call us thieves then I will call you and your father a thief,’ Abbasi tells PTI’s Vawda
–Sanaullah claims Babar Awan, Pervaiz Elahi weren’t arrested in corruption cases
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda on Wednesday accused the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government of stealing water from Sindh, during a verbal scuffle with former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the National Assembly.
As the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) members moved a notice to bring attention to the water crisis in the province, the federal minister informed the House that he had caught on the “water theft” by the former ruling party by shutting telemeters.
He claimed that Sindh’s water requirements were not being met as 58 per cent less water was being supplied to the people.
He further alleged that telemeters had been closed down upon the verbal orders of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in order to steal the province’s resources, and water supply was being measured manually.
“If I have to request other provinces to be more generous regarding the provision of water for Sindh, I will,” Vawda asserted.
“Nawaz Sharif robbed the rights of another province and stole their water,” he added.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader added that he will convene a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to discuss the issue.
“I will proceed shoulder to shoulder with the Sindh government on this issue,” he said.
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Responding to Vawda’s allegations, former PM Abbasi said that the minister had lodged some serious accusations at the PML-N government by claiming that water from Sindh and Balochistan was stolen to serve Punjab’s needs.
“A parliamentary committee should be formed to probe the allegations or it should be sent to the relevant standing committee for deliberation.”
He said that it should be found out on whose order water from the two provinces was being stolen and given to Punjab.
“We also have a lot to say, but the respect of the House should be maintained,” he said.
At this, Vawda responded that he did not categorically say that water was stolen for Punjab. He added that there was no need to formulate a committee as he would present a report in the matter in the House himself.
“There would be no compromise on any sort of theft,” He asserted.
He added that if theft is proven, then he will act in a “non-parliamentary way” and his language would also be “non-parliamentary”.
At this, Abbasi responded that the federal minister’s tone and choice of words were provocative.
“If you call us thieves then I will call you and your father a thief,” he stated emphatically.
He also alleged that “those who stole the election” were using the word ‘theft’ in every conversation in an attempt to distract people from their own conflicts of interest.
Vawda responded that if Abbasi was going call him and his family a “thief”, then it clearly pointed to some fault in his upbringing.
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PTI’s Murad Saeed also entered the verbal altercation, declaring that “everyone already knows” who is a certified thief.
“We will bring forth evidence regarding water that is stolen from Sindh and Balochistan,” he added.
“Those who looted the country and those who destroyed institutions will be held accountable, stop us if you can. We have to change Pakistan and strengthen institutions,” He said.
The minister for communications added that a proper legal framework needed to be drafted to “execute those who have looted the country”.
“The previous government instead of focusing on the country’s economic problems worked to expand their personal businesses,” Saeed added.
“It is not the PTI but the PML-N government that is responsible for the economic crisis Pakistan is going through.”
He further said that the PTI government will transform Punjab police just as it had reformed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) police during its tenure in the province.
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The argument further intensified as PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah also took to the floor of the House and said, “If you keep terming us thieves then the opposition will make noise.”
He added that Prime Minister Imran Khan had levelled allegations at PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif but “did not respond to the notices himself”.
“References have been filed against Babar Awan, Pervaiz Elahi and Aleem Khan but they have not been arrested,” he further asserted.
“The court verdict acquitted Nawaz of corruption charges. Jehangir Tareen managed the fake mandate and brought people to Bani Gala in his plane,” he added.
As the Opposition started chanting slogans against the government, Saeed asked the NA speaker to take notice of the parliamentarian’s behaviour for the session could not continue in this manner.
He added that the NA sessions were broadcasted live on national television and it would create a bad impression on the viewers.
The NA session was later adjourned till Thursday evening.