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October 30, 2020

‘Dr Aafia’s clemency petition being sent to US’

Top Story

October 30, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani alleged in the Senate Thursday that the government had deliberately let the CPEC Authority Ordinance lapse, as it wanted to put CPEC on the backburner and give an exemption to authority chairman and its members from accountability.

Speaking on his calling attention about the CPEC Authority Ordinance 2019, which is still holding the field, he noted that the ordinance was promulgated on October 8, 2019 and it lapsed in February this year after 120 days as per Article 89 of the Constitution, and it was re-promulgated and lapsed on June 4 after 120 days.

However, he pointed out that from June 4 onwards to this day, there was no law under which the authority was working, having big funds and staff and carrying out activities and replied himself that obviously the Authority was working in the air without the related law.

Rabbani said he knew through a bill, the government wanted to give immunity to the authority chairman and its members so that the NAB could not be applied on them but on all others.

He also noted that the authority chairman, who was no more after the lapseof the ordinance, faced very serious allegations. “Is this not an effort to give an NRO to him and the members through the bill,” he asked.

Replying to his notice, Information and Broadcasting Minister Shibli Faraz said the CPEC authority was working hard but the opposition members sitting here tried unsuccessfully to destroy it like the rest of the institutions. “And we will not allow you to do so. A bill is being presented in the National Assembly on this count,” he said and during his speech, the opposition senators staged a token walk out from the House.

He said there were political, foreign and legal aspects of CPEC and that the project was between the two countries, people and the states and when it was talked about negatively, and confusion created, it affected the project as well as our foreign policy. He alleged they (opposition) were trying to please their enemies, but were upsetting their friends in the process.

To this, Rabbani rose to explain that the minister himself conceded that the ordinance was objected and it was not the job of the opposition but of the government to bring a law, as the law did not exist from June till to date and the authority was working illegally. And, now he noted, the government was bringing a bill, which was sheer discrimination in terms of giving immunity.

He said the minister was saying that he wanted to spoil the relations with China but you had to bring the ordinance or the law, it was the job of the government and the bill that came in the National Assembly yesterday and the exception to the NAB law.

During the question-hour, speaking on behalf of foreign minister, Babar Awan informed the House that Dr Aafia Siddiqui had now signed the clemency petition, which was being sent to the US president through the jail department. Previously, she had certain reservations but agreed to it on September 24.