close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
October 30, 2020

Senate session: Govt, Opp in heated debate over CPEC Authority Ord

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 back burner and give exemption to Authority chairman and its members from accountability.

Speaking on his call attention notice about CPEC Authority Ordinance 2019, which is still holding the field, he noted that the ordinance was promulgated on October 08, 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 04 after 120 days. However, he pointed out that from June 04 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 lapse of 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 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.

Shibli 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 that the opposition was 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.

Shibli maintained, “I want to reassure the House, the people of Pakistan and China that various departments of the CPEC are working in the Planning Commission. Work is being done everywhere. We have come here to set up institutions.”

During the question-hour, speaking on behalf of foreign minister, Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs 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. He said that her COVID-19 test was negative.

Babar Awan was replying to questions from JI senators Mushtaq Ahmed and Sirajul Haq. The adviser said anyone could approach courts with regard to those, who had handed over Aimal Kansi, Dr Aafia and others. He assured the senators that there was email and phone facility available to her.

Replying to questions, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the government would like to fill 900 vacant posts at four government hospitals in the federal capital. This surprised many senators, who wondered, how they would be catering to the patients in the absence of 900 staff members.

The House presented scene of a fish market when Maritime Affairs Minister Ali Zaidi said since the matter relating to the islands was sub judice, he could not talk further, as several opposition senators and treasury members started speaking at the top of their voice. The PPP Senator Bahramand Tangi had asked a written question regarding the Islands Authority Ordinance.