Increase font size Decrease font size Reset font size

Shah lashes out at PTI for skipping Panamagate bill meeting

By Amir Wasim 2016-11-10
ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah criticised Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf`s (PTI) members of the Senate for not attending the law and justice committee meeting on the Panamagate bill on Tuesday.

Talking to reporters at his Parliament House chamber on Wednesday, Mr Shah expressed surprise over their absence from the important meeting even though the party`s senators were signatories to the opposition`s Panamagate bill. `What is the PTI playing at?` Mr Shah asked.

On Tuesday, the law and justice committee referred the controversial Panamagate bill to Chairman Raza Rabbani for final ruling af ter a heated discussion between government and the opposition members.

The chairman of the committee, Javed Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz, had used his casting vote to decide the matter af ter a 4-4 tie, af ter the opposition members staged a protest in front of theParliament House.

The committee had invited 38 members who had moved the bill, but none of the five PTI senators, who had put their signatures on the bill, were present at the meeting.

Mr Shah said this had strengthened his view that Imran Khan was directly or indirectly supporting the PML-N government.

`At first, they skipped the sit-in and then they were absent from the committee`s meeting.

This shows that Imran Khan provides the prime minister his strongest support,` he said.

Mr Shah alleged that Mr Khan did not attach importance to the sanctity of parliament since he lacked political experience.

He said the PTI believed that the opposition`s role was confined to abusing its opponents.

`You cannot appeal to people by using abusive language,` he said, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party had been playing the role of the real opposition in parliament.

Mr Shah was of the view that the Supreme Court`s proceedings in the Panama Papers case could not be a hurdle in the way of par-liament that had the right to carry out legislation.

On the other hand, PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz defended the party senators` decision to skip the meeting, saying they were entirely focused on the Supreme Court proceedings as legislation in the parliament was a lengthy process.

Mr Aziz said the PTI wanted to use every forum to seek accountability, but at the same time it did not want to draw criticism that the party did not place trust in the country`s judiciary.

Moreover, he said, legislation was a lengthy process as it could take several months to get a bill passed from the committee and then the Senate.

He said the committee`s decision to refer the bill to the Senate chairman proved that the government would take every possible step to delay the matter.

Mr Aziz explained that since they had not received guidelines from the party chairman, Imran Khan, on the issue, therefore, they had decided to stay away from the committee`s proceedings.