Ruckus in NA after minister calls for MPs accountability
Ahsan Iqbal brands Imran ‘immature’, ‘egocentric’
Federal Minister for Aviation Malik Ghulam Sarwar on Friday found himself troubled water after demanded accountability of all lawmakers, especially those who have been elected to the parliament several times.
His remarks caused pandemonium in the National Assembly as members of the opposition assailed the minister for his remarks. Irked by the opposition's protest, Minister for Power Omar Ayub warned that the treasury benches will not allow anyone to speak if they were not heard.
Amid reports that the NAB is zooming in on him, Ghulam Sarwar called for across-the-board accountability without any discrimination, asking the anti-graft body to take action against him if it wanted to.
Addressing the National Assembly, Ghulam Sarwar said the NAB should carry out accountability without any discrimination and he did not make a hue and cry like the opposition after his name was included in the investigation.
The government too should be held accountable if the opposition is facing accountability, said the minister.
Those who have been involved in corrupt practices will obviously feel the pain, he remarked, as the opposition members made noise during his speech.
Earlier, it was reported in media that the NAB is going through the process of complaint verification against Ghulam Sarwar, as it has asked the Rawalpindi district administration to provide record relating to agriculture, residential and commercial properties owned or traded by him or his family members of his family.
Flights to Wuhan
Ghulam Sarwar has said that on May 18 flights were being sent to Wuhan to bring back Pakistani students stranded in the Chinese city.
He added that while repatriating overseas Pakistanis, the government had preferred those expatriates who were in other countries on a visit visa.
Speaking on the floor of the parliament, he said that prisoners in overseas jails had been brought back without any charges. Sarwar told the lower house that airline staff were also "on the frontline" in the fight against the virus and were risking their lives and health. "There has been no shortcoming on our end," he said.
Meanwhile, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal described Prime Minister Imran Khan as immature and an egocentric person.
Addressing the National Assembly, Ahsan questioned what plan the government had to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and said the lawmakers were provided with nothing except the paper containing the House’s agenda items.
Those abusing the opposition get office, he said, adding that the only policy that the government had was abusing the opposition.
Munir Orakzai falls ill
MNA Munir Orakzai fell sick during the Friday’s National Assembly session. He was rushed to a hospital where after his checkup he was referred to Polyclinic Hospital.
Former speaker Fehmida Mirza said that lockdown was never a solution and was meant to be temporary. While speaking in the Lower House of Parliament, she said that the lockdown gave provinces the opportunity to build on their resources including health facilities. She called for national unity during the pandemic.
"This pandemic has exposed the entire world, our situation was obviously already deteriorating," she said.
Special Assistant to Prime Minister Babar Awan said that it is wrong to say that the government did not hold consultations, pointing out that the president met ulema and scholars to set standard operating procedures. He further said that three committees had been constituted to discuss the health crisis apart from the body formed under SAPM on health, NCOC and NDMA. He expressed hope that the parliament, that has the attention of the entire country, would be able to give people some "good news".
Babar Awan rejected claims that the ongoing National Assembly session had diverted from the health crisis being faced by the country, saying that most of the speeches had addressed Covid-19 pandemic and the government had been presented with a variety of recommendations.
He said that NCOC chairperson Asad Umar will go through the advice put forward by lawmakers and a session will be held before the budget session in order to incorporate those recommendations.
PPP MNA Shazia Marri has defended Sindh government's decision to enforce a lockdown, saying that the provincial administration had followed guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation and other international institutions.
She urged the government not to send mixed messages and put forward a clear policy.
Marri also drew government's attention towards the locust attacks which is threatening food security in the country at a time when the disease was spreading.
Shazia Marri dispelled "myths" being spread about the coronavirus, saying false claims about the disease will lead people to take it non-seriously. She said myths that the coronavirus can be killed by drinking or gurgling warm water or that it only infects old people should be dispelled by spreading awareness.