Prime Minister to address parliament on Friday

WEB DESK: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will attend the National Assembly proceedings on Friday where he will answer all questions raised by the opposition members regarding Panama Papers.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Pervaiz Rashid told the National Assembly on Tuesday while responding to points raised by Leader of Opposition in the lower house Syed Khursheed Shah on a point of order.

The joint opposition in the lower house staged a walkout for the second consecutive day in a protest against the absence of the prime minister in the National Assembly to explain his position on the Panama leaks.

The opposition demanded a debate in the parliament over the Panama leaks and called for the prime minister to come to clarify his position in the aftermath of Panama Papers.

The minister, however, said that the prime minister will attend an already scheduled meeting of national institutions today (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) he will go to Tajikistan. Therefore, the Prime Minister will attend the proceedings of the House on Friday.

The Minister said the Prime Minister is not hesitant to attend the proceedings. He recalled that the Prime Minister has already written to Chief Justice of Pakistan to set up a commission to probe the Panama Leaks. He said the government has also prepared Terms of Reference (TORs) of the commission. He said the opposition has also prepared their TORs.

Pervaiz Rashid said the Prime Minister wants to present truth before the commission. However, he regretted that now there is less talk on the commission by the opposition.

“The opposition is now more interested in Prime Minister’s presence in the house as it want that he should come to the house and speak on the issue, they added. Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said on a point of order that the Prime Minister should take the Parliament into confidence on the Panama Papers issue.

He said that the Prime Minister should present the record of his assets in the House to clear himself on the Panama Papers. He said the names of many Pakistanis appeared in the second list of Panama Papers, “which has damaged the name of Pakistan at international level”.

He said the attendance of the Opposition Leader should be compared with the Prime Minister’s. “We will respect the Prime Minister, if he comes to the Parliament to clear his position on the issue of the Panama leaks,” he said.

The Leader of the Opposition along with opposition members staged a walkout from the House, saying that they will attend the session on Friday. Following the walkout, the proceedings of the house remained suspended for 54 minutes due to lack of quorum as it was pointed out by a PTI lawmaker, Lal Chand Malhi.

Federal Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Muhmmad Asif said while responding to a member that there is a six-hour load shedding in urban areas and eight hours’ in rural areas. He said there are many feeders where recovery of electricity bills is less than 50 per cent. He said 25 % electricity is being wasted due to standby power.

The members of the House also urged the government to take steps towards eliminating interest from the country. While discussing a motion on eliminating interest, they said Pakistan is an Islamic country and there is no room of interest. They said that almost all religions forbid interest.

Responding to a FATA member, Federal Minster for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is not only for one or two years.

He said the “era of CPEC project is from 2016 to 2030”. He said the projects under CPEC would be completed in different phases. He said that in the first phase, the projects of energy would be completed. He also said that the Sindh and Balochistan would get maximum benefits from energy projects.

He said that energy project of $11.3 billion out of $35 billion have been launched in Sindh and of $9.8 billion in Balochistan. He said the government is constructing the western route of CPEC through its own financial resources under the Public Sector Development Plan (PSDP). – Business Recorder