Don’t link changes to NAB law to legislation on FATF, Qureshi tells Opp
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.–File photo
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has asked the opposition not to link amendments to the NAB law with the legislation, which will help Pakistan fulfil its international obligations and get out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list.
Speaking on the floor of the House on Tuesday, Qureshi said the PTI government was making best of its efforts to fail the Indian designs to keep Pakistan on the FATF grey list. He said it was an open policy of the Indian government to push Pakistan from the FATF grey list to black list. He said Indian intentions to push Pakistan to the black list were aimed at getting international economic sanctions imposed on Islamabad, which will naturally harm foreign investment and create unemployment.
The foreign minister said the opposition has proposed 35 amendments to the NAB law in exchange for its cooperation for legislation on issues relating to the FATF. He said it was not possible for Prime Minister Imran Khan to compromise his core agenda of fighting corruption therefore the opposition should reconsider its demand for amendments to the NAB law.
Qureshi said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party have proposed that the accountability law should be applicable from November 16, 1999, tenure of the NAB chairman should be curtailed and graft cases involving corruption of less than Rs1 billion should stay out of NAB’s purview. He said the opposition also wants to allow a person to become member of the parliament even if he/she is convicted by the NAB and his/her appeal is pending hearing.
The foreign minister said the PML-N and the PPP have proposed that term of the 10-year ban on a corrupt person disqualified for holding any public office should be curtailed to five years.
He said the opposition has demanded that any case older than five years should not fall in the ambit of the NAB law. Moreover, they have proposed deletion of six offences like cheating the public at large.
Qureshi said the opposition should review its demands in the best interest of the country. He said if the 35 amendments proposed by the opposition are approved, they will deprive Pakistan of the gains made through the legislation to steer the country out of the FATF grey list.
The foreign minister however made it clear that the government has no intention to extend the tenure of the incumbent NAB chairman.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar said that all ethnicities living in Pakistan are equal and nobody will be allowed to use derogatory language against any group of people.
He made these remarks while responding to a Calling Attention Notice moved by Sher Akbar Khan and Mohsin Dawar regarding failure of the PEMRA to take action against derogatory content of dramas on private TV channels attributed to Pashtuns and an objectionable lesson titled “Seven Foolish Men” in English text book for Grade 5 published by M/S Gaba Educational Book Publisher Private Limited and attributed to district Buner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Referring the matter to the concerned standing committee of the House, the speaker said all citizens are equal in the eyes of the Constitution of Pakistan and the law.
Responding to the Calling Attention Notice, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said conspiracies to stoke hatred among people of different ethnicities will not succeed. He informed the House that the above mentioned book was not part of the curriculum of any government school.