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November 10, 2018
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DG NAB’s interviews: NA witnesses govt, opposition tangle

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November 10, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Friday witnessed heated debate as the opposition parties submitted a privilege motion in the National Assembly Secretariat against the media trial of parliamentarians belonging to the opposition benches by NAB as its officials appeared in channels’ programmes.

The opposition members, after submitting the motion, raised the issue of breach of members’ privilege during the proceedings of the House on Friday. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N, while raising the issue on the floor of the House, said NAB officer Shahzad Saleem with the consent of the NAB chairman appeared in five programmes of private channels on November 8 and 9.

The programmes mentioned in the privilege motion also aired by Geo Television on Friday night. NA Speaker Asad Qaisar did not admit the privilege motion immediately and reserved his ruling. He said that he would give his ruling on the motion after seeking legal opinion.

The privilege motion said the officer had conducted media trial of the opposition members, attempted to influence so-called cases against the members, provided details of matters that are sub-judice, revealed details of confidence and secret NAB documents and maligned reputation of members of parliament.

“The matter requires immediate intervention of the National Assembly and should be taken up today,” the question of privilege said. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the opposition also believed in accountability but he regretted that a salaried employee of the government appeared in five programmes in a matter of two days, maligned parliamentarians and discussed sub-judice matters. “You are custodian of the House and it is your responsibility to take care of privilege of its members,” he said.

The PML-N member said as rules 95 and 96 to run proceedings of the House allow the chair to permit a member to move a privilege motion. Syed Naveed Qamar also supported the opposition colleague saying the rules allow a member of the House to raise the issue of privilege at any time during proceedings. “This is a serious matter and question of privilege of the whole House,” he said.

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry alleged that the opposition was trying to use the tool of privilege motion to influence the investigations being conducted by NAB saying it was not correct that nobody could discuss case regarding members of parliament only because he is a parliamentarian.

The minister reminded the opposition that their leader Shahbaz Sharif on the floor of the National Assembly criticised the NAB and conducted its media trial for three hours.

Rana Tanveer Hussain of PML-N said the information minister was wrongly interpreting the rules in this way. “This is serious breach of privilege of the House and its members,” he said.

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