ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inssaf (PTI) government on Friday, saying that the country’s foreign policy should be “decided by parliament and not Rawalpindi”.
Speaking during a session, the senior Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader referred to the current accountability process and said the judiciary, executive and the military should be subjected to accountability without exception.
Taking part in the debate over presidential address to both houses of parliament on September 17 this year, Senator Rabbani expressed concerns that attempts were being made to render the parliament dysfunctional.
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“Parliament should be made fulcrum to formulate Pakistan’s foreign policy,” he stressed. “A parliamentary committee on national security should immediately be constituted to look into matters pertaining to the country’s security and foreign relations.”
Quoting foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, he added that the parliament was being kept in the dark about the foreign policy issues. “Parliament is the mother of all state institutions and no one will be safe if anything happens to the state and its institutions,” he warned.
Rabbani also warned against attempts to divide political parties and create forward blocs. “Using accountability as a tool to forward a political agenda did not produce positive results in the past,” he said, adding that a selective accountability was not acceptable.
Stressing the need for across-the-board accountability, the former Senate chairman said that politicians, executive, judiciary and military bureaucracy “should be equally treated when we talk about accountability and misuse of power”.
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For a state to run smoothly and efficiently, the senator said, all state institutions should have harmony and the balance of power should be maintained. He emphasised the need for the rule of law. “Accountability of institutions should be the responsibility of a federal accountability commission.”
During the session, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar informed the house that a treaty had been signed with the Swiss authorities to gain access to information regarding bank accounts of the Pakistani citizens there.
During the Question Hour, Azhar said the treaty signed earlier by the previous government in 2013 was incomplete in some respects. He expressed the hope that the process of receiving data from Switzerland would begin next month.
Azhar said that all the territories, where Pakistani citizens might stash their funds were in the focus of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). On receiving actionable information, tax demand could be raised, which would be recoverable against the assets located in Switzerland.
The House will now meet on Monday.
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