The Supreme Court decision, raising questions on how the accountability laws were successfully used to change political loyalties echoed in the National Assembly on Tuesday as a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker drew comparison between a former military dictator and the incumbent prime minister.
Mian Javed Latif said that the Supreme Court’s decision granting bail to PML-N leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique, has endorsed the PLM-N’s stance of the past two years, adding that the discussion should not be limited only to bail but one should also see the conduct of former judge Arshad Malik and the remarks earlier passed on the leadership of the country.
The PML-N lawmaker said that hardly anyone knows about any other accountability body other than the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “If you make only one person powerful that he becomes General Yahya then tell me how will the system function,” he said.
Explaining why he named the former general, Latif said that Gen Yahya made corruption cases against the cabinet members of his predecessor Gen Ayub Khan and other influential people when he came to power. “Everyone saw the end result,” he said.
Drawing comparison between the incumbent chief executive – Prime Minister Imran Khan – and the former military ruler, Latif said, the answer to the corruption cases made against politicians and how NAB was used, came on July 20 through the Supreme Court’s judgment.
After taking over, Latif continued comparing the two, Gen Yahya had asked his legal advisers to make him so powerful that he should have the power to nullify the decisions made by the majority in the assembly of East Pakistan with a single stroke of pen. “He [Gen Yahya] stood in front of East Pakistan and today’s chief executive is standing in front of Sindh,” Latif said.
“I’m not advocating for [the Pakistan] Peoples Party or the PPP government,” he said, “all I’m saying is that we should learn a lesson from history when we repeat such things.”
While reminding the parliamentarians that Gen Yahya swore at parliament, he questioned “didn’t today’s chief executive swear at this assembly too”. There may not have been as much corruption in the history of Pakistan as there is now, Latif said, adding that all the scandals – wheat, sugar, medicine and dollar – could not have taken place without the consent of the facilitators.
“Puppet is good for those who brought him,” Latif said, without naming anyone. “No one could have been more obedient.” He guessed that those who brought him to power must also have realised by now that his departure is inevitable.
On the repeated calls for an all-parties conference (APC), Latif urged Maulana Fazalur Rehman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz to come out to save the country before it is too late. “The leadership will have to come out to save the country and get rid of today’s Gen Yahya,” he concluded his speech.
Earlier, PPP’s Abdul Qadir Patel said that Indian Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “India’s Imran Khan”. “This has become our standard; our symbol. It is on record; you can check,” Patel said.
In the 22 month’s rule, he quipped, the incumbent government has completed several projects, including 100 new universities, 50 hospitals and 300 new dams with a total cost of 10MB internet.
During his speech, he said that every PTI member has a history that can’t be repeated in the assembly just like the history of the Prime Minister can’t be repeated in the assembly.
As the deputy speaker allowed PTI’s lawmaker Murad Saeed to speak, PPP’s Agha Rafiullah point out the lack of quorum. Upon counting the quorum was found incomplete and, subsequently, the session was adjourned till Thursday.
Meanwhile, members of the opposition walked out from the assembly on the alleged abduction of journalist Matiullah Jan on Tuesday. PPP’s Naveed Qamar said that Jan was picked up by the police, adding that it was not an attack on an individual but an attempt to silence the whole media. He said that the media was already under pressure in the country. “It is a shame and we condemn it.”
PML-N’s Khawaja Asif said that freedom of press was a fundamental element of the democracy and the Constitution ensured it, adding that truth could not be suppressed by picking up people like Jan was. He said: “Truth cannot be defeated like this.” Subsequently, the opposition walked out from the assembly.
The session had begun with one-minute silence observed for Sister Ruth Lewis for her selfless contributions to the society. She served at Darul Sukoon for 50 years and passed away from the novel coronavirus at the Aga Khan University Hospital on Monday night.
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