Minister’s remarks prompt walkout in Senate

Opposition immediately protested against the minister’s remarks and staged walkout


Saqib Virk October 05, 2022

ISLAMABAD:

Opposition’s protest and walkout from the Senate session on Tuesday forced Religious Affairs Minister, Mufti Abdul Shakoor, to apologise to a minority member.

The issue arose when Minority member Dinesh Kumar told the house that rooms were booked at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in his name but I was not even there. He added that it would have been better if a lawmaker from the minority community was appointed parliamentary secretary for the reply.

However, a visibly angry Mufti Shakoor gave a strongly-worded reply to Kumar, saying that the member was in pain because a religious scholar was the minister. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, who was in the chair, expunged the remarks.

However, the opposition immediately protested against the minister’s remarks and staged walkout from the proceedings. Later, Mufti Shakoor said he was sorry if someone was hurt by his remarks. He added that he did not intend to insult the lawmaker.

Saifullah Abro pointed out that the brother of a former finance minister had travelled to India on August 15 and requested the chair to refer the matter to the House Standing Committee on Civil Aviation for investigation. The chair referred the matter to the relevant committee.

Earlier, during the Question Hour, the house was informed that the pace of work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects was being accelerated, and that more investors were evincing interested in the economic zones.

Meanwhile, details of the pay and perks of former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal were presented in the house. The House was informed that Javed Iqbal received a monthly salary of Rs1.239 million as the NAB chief.

The house was further informed that Javed Iqbal received a total of Rs70,305,923 in salaries during his five-year tenure. In that period, the written reply to the house added, the recoveries of NAB totalled Rs74,504,985.

Senator Gurdeep Singh of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) pointed out the quorum. After the counting, the house was found incomplete. On that the chair adjourned the session until Friday morning.

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