–Mazari demands probe into ‘criminal negligence’ of past rulers in not joining FATF
–Rafique says govt should sign the charter of democracy before the charter of economy
–Asif backs charter of economy, says Opp should have been consulted for budget as well
–Vawda suggests ‘5,000’ corrupt should be hanged for transforming fate of 220m people
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) budget session on Tuesday ended without any productive debate as the government and opposition continued to blame each other for the current political and economic situation.
Speaking on the floor of the House, government lawmakers blamed the previous governments for allegedly robbing the national exchequer of billions of rupees and strangling the national economy while opposition leaders lashed out at the government over its alleged incompetence in running the affairs of the county and for trying to derail democracy.
Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari demanded a probe into the “criminal negligence” of the previous governments and bureaucrats for not doing anything to become a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
She said that the parliament should investigate why certain member of the bureaucracy and heads of previous governments did not apply for membership of the anti-money laundering watchdog which was formed in 1988. The heads of previous governments did not apply for the membership because it would have exposed their “money laundering and corruption”.
She said that India became a member in 1998 the constitution of Framework of Monitoring Unit. “India has been creating problems for us since then,” she said, adding that if Pakistan were a member of FATF, it would not have faced the problems it has been facing recently.
She said that Pakistan is in a grave situation right now as India being the co-chair of joint group of FATF and the Asia Pacific Group (APG) wants Pakistan to be blacklisted which would result in sanctions for the country.
She also demanded an investigation into the non-registration of a Pakistan-India agreement in 2008 in the United Nations (UN) regarding denial of consular access to spies arrested across borders. “If the agreement had been signed between the two countries, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would not have been able to entertain India’s case about consular access to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav,” she added.
‘CHARTER OF DEMOCRACY BEFORE CHARTER OF ECONOMY’:
Speaking on the floor of the House for the first time since the issuance of production orders, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique said that there are discussions about a charter of economy which is to be signed by the government and the opposition.
“Before signing a charter of economy, the government should sign the charter of democracy,” he said, adding that charters are not signed with a “gun pointed at your head” as the political temperature needs to be lowered to run the country swiftly.
He said that the budget proposed by the government has increased the income tax on the salaried class which would further burden them. He also said that granting income tax officials more power would lead to an increase in corruption.
“Would it not lead to more corruption or do you think corruption is only limited to politicians,” he asked, adding that giving them more power would only add to the suffering of the nation.
Criticising the government’s approach of increasing tax collection, he said that it is not achievable by raising the tax slab to 35 per cent. He also expressed disappointment at the fact that the government had reduced spending on the education sector despite promising to improve the sector in its manifesto.
He also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should stop saying that he will not grant amnesty to any opposition leader through a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as he is not mandated to do so. “If he thinks he has the power to do that then he should accept that he is a ‘selected’ premier,” he added.
Rafique further said that he has been behind bars multiple times in his political career but the people from the treasury benches will be the next to go to jail.
Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif said that while PML-N does not disagree with the idea of a charter of economy, it would have been better if the government had consulted the opposition for the budget. “The government is introducing a new financial order that we disagree with. Would it not have been better if we had reached a consensus before the budget,” he added.
He further said that there is a need to create a meeting point between the treasury and the opposition on the budget. “It would be a start, a good start, and its end point can be a charter of economy,” he said.
Defending PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s statement about the charter of economy being a joke, Asif said that she termed it that because of the current situation, adding that PML-N supremo and former premier Nawaz Sharif had floated the idea a decade ago and his party supports it in principle.
VAWDA WANTS THE CORRUPT TO BE HANGED:
Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda said that the government should hang “5,000 corrupt people” to transform the future of 220 million people.
He said that those who had robbed the country and laundered its money abroad should be tied and dragged behind a vehicle before being hanged.
“This would ensure the supremacy of the rule of law and will change the fate of the people of Pakistan,” he said.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry, in his speech, criticised the previous governments for allegedly looting the country.
He said that PM Imran had changed the whole political scenario by rising to power in 2018 “upon the narrative of across the board accountability”, adding that the premier had fulfilled his promise of bringing the corrupt to task.
The minister also said that the government had allocated Rs43 billion for development in science and technology.