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Opposition staged walk out from Senate

15 November, 2018

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The opposition staged a walk out from Senate on Wednesday over the remarks of the federal minister for information and broadcasting, who claimed that Rs42 trillion was transferred to Balochistan during the last 10 years but most of these funds were misused by the previous governments.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s statement was in response to a speech made by PML-N senator Mushahidullah Khan on Monday, in which the senator leveled several allegations against the minister. Pandemonium broke out in the house as lawmakers from the opposition rose and began shouting when Chaudhry tried to justify his remarks. The minister said whenever the issue of accountability and corruption was brought up in a debate, opposition lawmakers start complaining that democracy was in danger.

The minister also said that there were Supreme Court reports about encroachments on the lands belonging to the shirnes of Baba Farid and Baba Guro Nanak. According to another report, he said, Pakistan was on top of the list of countries whose citizens possessed properties abroad. About 5,000 fake bank accounts were discovered in which the corrupt leaders had laundered money, he said.

Chaudhry said Mushahidullah Khan had used foul language against him so he wanted to bring the matter to the notice of the Opposition Leader in the Senate. Referring to some Rs42 trillion funds for Balochistan, the minister accused Mehmood Khan Achakzai, Asif Ali Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman of having embezzled money from these funds. He said that common people in Balochistan were crying for basic necessities of life but these leaders enjoyed luxurious lives on the former’s expense. He said wastage of huge amount of development funds earmarked for the province was tantamount to economic terrorism, and it should be probed. He demanded the Chairman Senate to form a parliamentary committee to look into the matter.

The Chairman Senate told him a committee has already been formed on the anonymous accounts issue.

Meanwhile, the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry continued his verbal attacks on Pushtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai. He accused him of robbing the country and making anti-state statements. This led to a strong response from PkMAP senator Usman Kakar. Kakar accused the minister of ‘licking the boots of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani intervened and more than once asked the minister to not use “un-parliamentary” language, saying that running the House is government’s responsibility and it needs to exercise greater tolerance towards opposition.

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