National Assembly adopts motion to form 12-member body

WEB DESK: The National Assembly on Thursday adopted a motion to constitute a Parliamentary Committee comprising 12 members to define Terms of Reference [ToRs] for investigation into the Panama leaks.

The government and opposition parties on Wednesday had agreed to form the committee having six members from each side and complete its work within 15 days, but it didn’t go smoothly in the House.

The government, however, first moved a motion in the Lower House for adoption, saying the Parliamentary Committee should have eight members each instead of six; so that the Muttahida Qaumi Movement should also be adjusted.

The opposition had not included any member of the MQM in the six names forwarded to Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq for constitution of the committee.

PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi objected to the move strongly and urged the government to move the motion of 12-member Parliamentary Committee as decided unanimously a day before. He said the MQM was part of the joint opposition when the ToRs were being decided for the Judicial Commission, but it later opted on its own to quit. “If the MQM feels itself part of the opposition, then why is it contacting the government for inclusion of its member in the Parliamentary Committee,” he said. He urged the government not to reopen the issue that has been settled unanimously.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said the government has no objection to the 12-member committee as decided unanimously by the opposition and the government, but the MQM with its 25 members in the National Assembly cannot be ignored too. MQM member Asif Hasnain said that his party is part of the opposition and has also given its input on the ToRs. “The MQM is the fourth largest party in the Parliament, but even then if you want to exclude us from the Parliamentary Committee, please go ahead,” he said. Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that it is against the spirit of the democracy to keep a party with 25 members out of the consultative process.

Later, the National Assembly adopted the motion with 12 members (six each from the treasury and opposition benches) following a request from Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah that they would sort the issue out on their own. A meeting of the members from treasury and opposition benches also took place later in the day but the issue was not resolved.

The opposition parties have now called their own meeting today (Friday) in the Parliament House to decide whether a member of the MQM should be included in the Parliamentary Committee or not.

Source: Business Recorder