ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani asked the government on Friday to place the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s report on sugar and flour crisis before the house on Monday after Leader of Opposition Raja Zafarul Haq said according to his information, the report had been submitted by the FIA to the government.
The controversy over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks suggesting trial of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for alleged treason also echoed in the house as the treasury and opposition members traded barbs over price hike, gas shortage and sugar and wheat flour scam.
PML-N parliamentary leader in the house Mushahidullah Khan alleged that the FIA report on sugar and flour shortages was not being made public as people sitting in government were behind the shortages. He said wheat had been exported and then imported by the same man.
Zafarul Haq said negative tactics were being employed to push the opposition to the wall. He expressed concern over the prime minister’s remarks about Maulana Fazl’s trial under Article 6 of the Constitution and the curbs on social media under a set of rules framed by the government.
Mushahidullah Khan said the JUI-F chief’s speech was political in nature and regretted the talk of his trial under Article 6 of the Constitution. “If he is to be tried in high treason case for his remarks, how many will be guilty of the offence for making such remarks in 2014, which were more severe in nature,” he asked.
He recalled that in 2014 call had been made for civil disobedience, utility bills had been torn apart, overseas Pakistanis had been asked to send remittances through illegal means, PTV headquarter had been captured and warnings had been given that the ‘umpire’ was about to raise his finger.
“We neither initiated a treason case against you nor we put anyone of you behind the bars,” the PML-N leader said and asked the government not to set negative traditions that might haunt it in future.
He said the government had made fabricated cases against political opponents who had then been put in solitary confinement. “Do you know for how many days you are in power? What if somebody puts you in solitary confinement tomorrow,” he asked.
Javed Abbasi of the PML-N asked the chairman to immediately take up an adjournment motion submitted by him and seeking a discussion on the reports that the IMF team had asked Pakistan to reduce trade and economic reliance on China.
He said the adviser to the prime minister on finance should come to the house to explain what assurances had been given to the IMF.
Some other members of the Senate feared that efforts were afoot to roll back the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Nauman Wazir of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) held the previous PML-N government responsible for the energy and economic crisis. He said the independent power producers, which were supposed to get a profit of 15 to 17 per cent under the agreements signed during the PML-N’s days in power, had earned 45pc to 70pc profit.
He said the then finance minister Ishaq Dar threw $38 billion in the market to artificially keep the dollar exchange rate at Rs105.
He said appointments were made in the Pakistan International Airlines and the Pakistan Steel Mills on political basis. Without naming anybody, he said the leader of sugar mafia must be the one who owned as many as 18 mills.
Mohsin Aziz of the PTI also said politics was being done on gas shortage. He said no gas exploration took place for 10 to 15 years before the PTI came to power. He said a moratorium had been placed to deprive the provinces of their share in natural resources guaranteed under Article 158 of the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2020