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October 8, 2015

Unanimity over accountability of all


October 8, 2015

The Upper House of the Parliament Tuesday unanimously raised a voice for across-the-board accountability, regardless of any sacred cows among politicians, armed forces personnel, bureaucrats or judges.
The house rejected the in-house accountability mechanism of judiciary and the armed forces and declared it an eyewash. Expressing no-confidence in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the house called for constituting an independent institution for accountability of each segment of society.
A report of the Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights on ‘Corruption in federal government departments’ was a source of inspiration and a basis for evolving a consensus among the senators.
Surprisingly, neither the opposition nor the treasury members defended the corrupt in their ranks. Khawaja Asif kept mum on allegations against Nawaz Sharif and Aitzaz Ahsan did not respond to the corruption allegations levelled by Mushahidullah against Asif Ali Zardari.
In fact, the front runners of both the parties were least bothered about defending the alleged corruption by their leadership. Aitzaz was the first to admit corruption in his party, and he did not defend the corrupt elements in the PPP.
However, he pointed out alleged mega corruption scandals of the incumbent federal government including Nandipur project. Aitzaz claimed that he had documentary proofs that incumbent Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid zero tax in 1994, Rs475 in 1995, and again zero income tax in 1996. Then how he became a billionaire in 20 years, he asked.
The treasury did not defend this allegation. However, Mushahidullah said it was an age-old story and also levelled same allegations against Aitzaz and said he should talk about Asif Ali Zardari’s wealth and taxes. He claimed that Nawaz Sharif paid billions as taxes. Aitzaz also did not respond to his allegations against Zardari, but clarified his own position.
PML-N Senator

Mushahidullah Khan was the second to admit that there might be some corrupt in the party folds.
About Nandipur power project alleged corruption, Khawaja Asif offered Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani to get probed any project including Nandipur by the Senate committee, and the PML-N would cooperate in this regard.
The corruption debate was opened by the Senate committee chairman, PML-N’s Javed Abbasi, who presented the report. After that, his fellows followed in his footsteps and tried to contribute more than the initiator.
Farhatullah Babar asked as to why no one was held accountable on the misadventure of Kargil, which ultimately weakened Pakistan’s stand on the Kashmir issue, and situation led to cross-border terrorism. No action was taken against the responsible for the presence of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and the US forces’ operation in an independent state. He said the armed forces representatives refused to appear before the Senate committee and it was asked to keep away from the ‘sensitive’ matters related to them.
His fellow senators seconded him. Hasil Bizenjo, Mohsin Aziz, Usman Kakar and others were on the same page on the issue of corruption in judiciary, bureaucracy and armed forces. Though there are retired general in the Senate, none from them or the treasury responded or defended these allegations.
Farhatullah Babar could not get response from the treasury about delaying the Right to Information Bill. He said the bill could not be presented before the cabinet in its last 18 meetings, despite Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid’s promises in this regard. Babar linked it to pressure from the forces.
The issue of lack of coordination was witnessed among the ministers, as no one bothered to respond why the said bill could not presented in the last 18 cabinet meeting. The prime minister should take notice of it.
While discussing Senator Sitara Ayaz’s adjournment motion, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif claimed that India faced more losses than Pakistan when our forces responded to their attacks. The Indian media did not report those losses in their national interest. But Pakistani media is vibrant and more independent than India’s and it presents reports on each and every issue, he said.
However, while blaming the media, Khawaja Sahib forgot that the Pakistani media reported the violations at the Line of Control provided only by the Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR), which falls under his own ministry.

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