Former premier Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son, MNA Abdul Qadir Gilani, sought support against ‘unfair persecution’ by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Wednesday – and found a host of sympathetic voices in the National Assembly.
Responding to his call, the house passed a ruling to summon the head of the FIA before the privilege committee for issuing a summons to the Gilanis in connection with the 2010 Hajj scam. The committee was asked to convene a meeting within 48 hours.
An impassioned Khursheed Shah said, “This house should see a handcuffed DG FIA before it for having summoned Yousaf Raza Gilani,” as he recalled services rendered by the former leader of the house.
Earlier, Abdul Qadir apprised the house that the FIA had summoned him, along with his father, to appear before it or face dire consequences. “My family is continuously being battered and there is no one in this house to raise a voice for us. Do the agencies of this country consider us traitors?” he asked.
“I along with my brother Ali Musa Gilani will resign from the NA if we are to be ridiculed by the FIA in this fashion,” he railed. He said that the accuser, Imran Ali Shah, (a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA) had retracted the allegations that he had purchased a bulletproof vehicle through the scam. He also lamented that the government had not provided sufficient security to his father, irrespective of terrorist threats to his family.
The opposition, of course, was less sympathetic to the young MNA’s cause. Rana Tanveer from the PML-N said surrendering oneself for investigation because of any accusation sent a positive message.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, however, did not take Tanveer’s advice very well, igniting a war of words in the parliamentary chambers. He pointed out that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan himself had refused to appear before the FIA in wake of the Supreme Court’s recent verdict on the Asghar Khan case.
In between all the bickering, the house managed to pass a bill to amend the Pakistan Penal Code to criminalise illegal business of and dealing in fake prize bonds.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.