ISLAMABAD: Former premier Nawaz Sharif has regretted what he called an ‘irrational’ delay by the government in announcing a proposed commission of non-political Pakistanis to raise funds and oversee relief activities.
“I cannot understand why it is taking that much time,” Sharif told reporters on Wednesday at a national convention of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) held in Islamabad.
Sharif said that he would call Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to ask him why the formation of the commission was taking that long. He said that he had proposed the commission for the interest of the Pakistani people not for political point-scoring.
“The prime minister should have followed up on it as soon as possible. But, I will say, it is unfortunate that nothing has happened so far,” Sharif said. “We, as a nation and as a state, cannot afford any further delays (in the formation of the commission).”
Both Gilani and Sharif had agreed in a meeting on August 14 that a commission will be formed comprising highly respectable and credible Pakistanis who will supervise how the government handles aid. Initially, they announced the names of some prominent retired judges who would be the members of the proposed commission and said that it would be constituted within 48 hours or two days. However, there hasn’t been any development.
But Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said at a news conference on Wednesday that the government was taking time to consult provincial authorities, who are also required to contribute to the proposed fund under the commission. Gilani may announce the commission after a scheduled meeting of the National Disaster Management Commission (NDMC) on Thursday (today).
Sharif claimed that he had received calls from several world leaders, praising the initiative and calling that the proposed commission was vital to ensure Pakistan got more international help.
But, he refuted that suggestions to form such a commission was an indication of mistrust about either the government or the country’s politicians. “That is not the case and it must not be interpreted that way,” Sharif said. “It is going will be a symbol of national unity…and us, the political parties, will work within it as workers.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2010.
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