ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers from both treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly on Thursday termed the US efforts to push Pakistan on the watchlist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) a failure of the government and success of Indian narrative to isolate Pakistan.
A meeting of the FATF member states is due on February 18 in Paris, where the organisation – an intergovernmental body that sets global standards for fighting illicit finance – could adopt a motion against Pakistan. The resolution is submitted by the US, the UK, France and Germany.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Shireen Mazari on a point of order said it is the failure of Pakistan’s foreign policy that a resolution is being moved against Pakistan. The resolution against Pakistan has been submitted by the US, the UK, France and Germany.
“The government has no foreign policy and its entire focus has been on ‘mujhay kion nikala.’ Pakistan has failed in its diplomacy and it could not present counter narrative against India,” she said.
According to Mazari despite arrest of an Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav, Pakistan could not tell the international community that it is India which is involved in terrorism and not Pakistan.
“Indian narrative against Pakistan is prevailing across the world. Once we come on the watchlist then we will be in a deep trouble. The government must explain its stance on this important matter on the floor of the parliament,” she demanded.
The Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Naveed Qamar, who was chairing the sitting due to absence of the speaker and deputy speaker, demanded that the foreign or interior minister brief the assembly on the issue today [Friday].
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Peerzada told the house that both foreign and the interior ministers were on foreign tours and the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad would brief the house. The PPP’s Shazia Marri said the point raised in the house concerned the entire country and had nothing to do with the point-scoring.
The Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai said no government minister bothered to tell the people of Pakistan about this issue. “It is the right of the house that the foreign office tells it what is happening,” he stated.
He also talked about the matter related with the Senate’s election and said the world is laughing at them for ‘the race is on for grabbing a seat in the Senate on payment.’ The PTI’s Shafqat Mehmood said to eliminate this element his party had suggested direct election of the Senate.
Initiating debate on the president’s address to the joint session of the parliament, Leader of Opposition Khursheed Shah said supremacy of the parliament should be ensured and all institutions must perform their duties within their constitutional domain.
“It will not be a good omen if the judiciary starts performing functions of the executive,” he said, adding that supremacy of the parliament can be ensured if all parliamentarians including the prime minster and the ministers give adequate time to the proceedings of the house.
He regretted that the country is facing a number of challenges on the external front but these challenges are not given due attention. Shah said Pakistan has all the potential to become a developed country provided its resources are exploited judiciously and properly.
He also talked about the issues being faced by farmers of sugarcane and higher prices of petroleum products in the country. He said inflation during the current regime has increased by 100 per cent and Pakistan has taken a loan amounting to Rs7000 billion during the past four and half years.
“The loan per person which stood at Rs74,000 during the tenure of the PPP’s government has swelled to Rs125,000 per person,” he added.
Shah also talked about literacy issues in Pakistan and said a single teacher over teaches five classes of the students. According to him Pakistan’s population will swell to 200 million by 2030.
He also talked about environmental issues in Pakistan and said that there must be five trees against a single person but instead to grow more trees, the trees are being cut.
He said the militant organizations are taking part in elections, politics and terrorism while the USA for which Pakistan sacrificed a lot is not ready to give visas to Pakistanis.
“The Indian premier came to attend wedding of the granddaughter of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif,” he said and then addressing the treasury benches asked: “Had the former PM invited anyone from among you on this wedding ceremony.”
He said Sharif also held secretly meetings with an Indian businessman.
Law Minister Bashir Mehmood Virk said Indian PM had paid the visit without permission while the former premier had not invited lawmaker of PML-N to avoid excessive expenses.
Here Mazari asked as how a foreign premier could pay a visit without permission. Virk replied that he had meant that the Indian prime minister had paid visit without invitation.
The house later passed a resolution asking the government to ensure that no nationality or cultural identity is specifically linked to the portrayal of terrorism or any other socio-cultural vice. The resolution was moved by the PTI’s Shehryar Afridi.
The house also referred a government’s bill, ‘The Institute of and Culture Bill 2017,’ to relevant standing committee on the resistance of the opposition and adjourned to meet again today