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October 11, 2018

Govt policies: Non-conforming bureaucrats to go home, says Fawad

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October 11, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the bureaucracy would have to follow the government policies and accord respect to the legislators and insisted those bureaucrats, who had differences with the government policies, could separate themselves from it.

It was the government responsibility, he noted, to formulate policies and it was the duty of bureaucrats to implement the same.

He asked why the opposition was not demanding formation of a parliamentary committee to look into the causes of economic crisis.

Talking to media persons here, the minister emphasised that this should be determined, as to who was responsible for the economic mess and to trace the causes, a parliamentary committee should be formed.

He alleged that the opposition desired that all should form a corruption union and those, who looted the nation’s wealth, should not be held accountable. He insisted that the ongoing process of accountability would not be stopped as PTI was given mandate for its stance against the status quo.

About the suspension of notification of transfer of Punjab police chief, he contended that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had illegally halted the transfer on which a letter had been written to it, stating that its decision was above the law.

The minister said that the incumbent police chief was transferred for not effectively pursuing investigation and that failure to arrest those responsible for the Model Town tragedy was the main reason for his removal. He wondered how the investigation conducted at the behest of ex-CM Shahbaz Sharif be trusted, emphasising the culprits of Model Town killings would be brought to justice.

The minister said the government was working with the opposition with open heart. “We are facilitating the opposition and ready to fulfill its legal demands. Already National Assembly Speaker has issued the production order of Shahbaz Sharif, leader of opposition,” he pointed out.

Fawad made it clear that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was mandated to fight against the corrupt system and fully committed to eliminate the menace.

Earlier, ruckus ruled the Senate, as legislators on both the sides of the aisle, saw exchange of a barrage of ‘allegations’ again between Information and Broadcasting Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain and PML-N’s Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani appeared completely helpless to calm them down and restore order in the House, as Mian Raza Rabbani said he never saw, during his 26-year stint as the House member, such ‘environment’ in the Senate which once acted like Leningrad against General Musharraf.

He regretted how both were engaged in disgracing each other and insisted it did not suit a cabinet minister to do so. He called for tolerance and restraint on the part of the government, even if an issue was raised from the opposition side.

Rabbani feared that the House environment was being vitiated deliberately so that the burning issues, like going to IMF for loans, could not be debated here.

Leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz rose to say that the government benches had shown restraint on offensive remarks by the opposition side while the House became hostage to a minister and Mushahidullah.

At one point, Mushahidullah challenged Fawad to resign, if his allegations turned out to be a white lie and he would step down as senator, if what he uttered vis-à-vis PIA proved false.

In a rare move, even Sanjrani cautioned the minister that he would be left with no other option to send him out, if he did not stop speaking. For about half an hour, the House remained hostage to the minister and Senator Mushahidullah’s shouting match.

On repeated requests, Fawad apologised on what he said his ‘bitter talk’. However, he declined outrightly to apologise on what he had said about Khursheed Shah and Mushahidullah, who was also asked to apologise to Fawad for his remarks, but he did not.

“My point of view is that these people played havoc with the state institutions. He got inducted his brothers and other relatives on lucrative posts in PIA, which is now running into losses of Rs360 billion, Pakistan Steel Mills’ losses are Rs200 billion. Khursheed Shah, who headed a cabinet committee to regularise 16,3000 employees.”

He then started reading out names of what he believed were Mushahidullah’s brothers and relatives while the PML-N senator kept denying and responded that presently his one brother was in PIA, who was being targeted now. He conceded that his brothers, being named, by Fawad had already retired.

Leader of the House Syed Shibli Faraz, Rabbani, Mir Kabir and some other senators tried to normalise the situation. Rabbani was seen patting back of Mushahidullah. Later, the two were taken outside the House and they returned after some time, when the House had already resumed. “After all, the jirga has proved handy,” the chair remarked on seeing them returning to the House.

He did not agree with Shibli Faraz that the culture of apology should be put aside in the House and said that it was a tradition and should continue.

Earlier, noisy scenes returned to the Senate towards the end of the question hour, when Fawad rose to reply to a question by a PML-N Senator Kalsoom Parveen. He was interrupted by Mushahidullah, who reminded the chair that the minister to first apologise for his charges, he made against him. The PML-N legislator insisted that he should be allowed to speak only after he apologised. Fawad hit back, saying that he had already referred the matter for investigation and he should wait for the outcome.

The chair contended that Fawad had already apologised. However, Mushahidullah insisted that the minister had again accused him of giving jobs to his brothers, female members and others of his family in PIA. He denied having got inducted female members of his family in the airlines but said one of his cousins was part of PIA.

“He is a liar, a fraud and working for a foreign agency,” Mushahidullah retorted, referring to Fawad, who wanted to speak.

"Then let the inquiry end before you come to Parliament. If he proves six people from my family who are part of PIA, I will resign from my position. If the information minister fails, he should be the one to resign from his position,” PML-N lawmaker said.

"I have been in the Senate for 26 years; never have I witnessed such an environment. Such an environment has been created that Senate proceedings have to be postponed. In such circumstances, you [the chair] should exercise your authority," Rabbani spoke, when the crisis at its peak and silence returned, as he was given the floor.

Senator Rabbani pointed out that the Senate chairman's ruling could not be challenged, even if right or wrong. He called for upholding dignity of the House and the chair.

State Minister for Interior Sheharyar Afridi informed the House that no complaint was made to the ministry from any department with regard to extradition of ex-premier Shaukat Aziz. He was responding to a question by Ch Tanvir Khan. To another query by Senator Mushtaq Ahmad if there was any plan to seek extradition of ex-president general Pervez Musharraf, whose red warrants were also issued, he said that deliberations were currently under way about all those, who had looted the national wealth.

“Whosoever committed crimes, abused the Constitution will face action and the government would take measures accordingly,” he maintained.

During the question hour, State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi told the House that Pakistan had to face embarrassment in the comity of nations, mainly due to rampant human smuggling and pointed out that there was no patrolling at all at 32 percent border in south and no mechanism to check the cross border movement.

He continued that the mafias looted the poor and sent them abroad, many of whom would die on the way and others landed in troubles. He added the entire matter was being looked into to put in place a proper mechanism to stem the menace. He hinted at taking action against those mafias sitting even in Islamabad.

Responding to a question, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that border fencing would greatly help in controlling flow of drugs into the country from the neighbouring Afghanistan. “We all know the drug smugglers are found around us and one wonders how the state institutions, particularly the Election Commission of Pakistan let such people contest elections and even reach assemblies,” he charged.

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