Opposition in Senate hints at nixing NAB ordinance.

Byline: Iftikhar A. Khan

ISLAMABAD -- Senators from both sides of the aisle on Wednesday traded barbs, with the treasury members accusing the opposition lawmakers of committing corruption and money laundering and the latter alleging that a witch-hunt was going on in the name of accountability.

The highlight of the day was an announcement by the minister for parliamentary affairs that the government would convene a regular session of the Senate in the next two to three days during which all the recently promulgated ordinances would be laid.

Former Senate chairman Mian Raza Rabbani noted that it would be more appropriate if the ordinances were laid before the house during the current requisitioned session. He said there was a room in the rules for bringing government business after the requisitioned session's business was over. He pointed out that the session was requisitioned because the government had not convened a session for over two months.

Later, the upper house of parliament passed a motion seeking a discussion on the recent wave of alleged political victimisation and denial of fundamental rights to the opposition members as well as revocation of citizenship of a former member of parliament.

Minister promises that all the recently promulgated ordinances will be laid in the upper house of parliament

Taking part in the discussion, former law minister Farooq H. Naek of the PPP announced that the opposition would disapprove the recently promulgated National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, which he described as the worst form of political victimisation. He recalled that an amendment had been made in the NAB Ordinance during the days of former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf under which a person facing a corruption charge of over Rs50 million would get C-class in jail. He said it had been done because all political opponents of the present rulers were facing concocted and fabricated charges of over Rs50m.

He said that under the jail manual, the class in a jail was allocated as per the status of the accused in society and the amount he paid in taxes. He referred to Article 25 of the Constitution which guaranteed equality before law and argued that classification was allowed on the basis of reasonable facts. 'If all are to be treated equally, then my perquisites should be equal to that of the ministers,' he remarked.

Mr Naek said it had become difficult to hold the offices of president and prime minister in Pakistan and...

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