ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Rana Sanaullah, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Khursheed Shah were being targeted by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) while dispelling rumours that the opposition parties wanted a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
Shehbaz said this while addressing a press conference along with PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Bilawal criticised the National Assembly (NA) speaker as well for not letting the leader of the opposition speak in the joint parliamentary session.
“It is not the speaker’s right to stop the leader of the opposition from speaking in parliament,” he said. “The leader of the opposition or the leader of the house can speak whenever they want to.”
The senior opposition leaders, who had also acted as lawmakers in the parliament during the Musharraf and Ziaul Haq eras, said this was the most non-democratic practice they had ever seen, Bilawal added.
“After the Islamabad High Court’s decision, legislation cannot be presented by an adviser,” he said, regretting that the speaker was not “ready to listen to this argument”.
The PPP chairman said that police did not need a warrant to arrest anyone now when referring to the government’s amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Bill.
Bilawal said that the opposition was already bearing the brunt of the NAB’s coercive tactics, adding that these new amendments would harm the country’s business community and as a result, on the economy.
This controversy started after Wednesday’s joint parliament session, during which amendments in three bills crucial to the fulfillment of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) requirements were passed.
After most of the opposition parties’ amendments were rejected and the leaders were not allowed to speak, they staged a walkout.
The three bills that were passed with amendments were the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020, Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill and the Anti-Terrorism Act (amendment) Bill, 2020.
According to Radio Pakistan, the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill is aimed at proper management, supervision, and administration of Waqf properties in the territorial limits of Islamabad Capital Territory. The Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 is “aimed at streamlining the existing anti money laundering law in line with international standards prescribed by FATF”.