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Parliamentry ethics committee to be formed: Ayaz Sadiq

07 August, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has okayed the establishment of an ethics committee of the lower house to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by disgruntled Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) MNA Ayesha Gulalai against party chairman Imran Khan.

Sources privy to developments told media men on Sunday the committee to be formed in a couple of days would consist of 20 members — 13 from the treasury and seven from the opposition benches. However, the strength and composition of the committee will be open to changes.

Sources said the committee would be a permanent feature of the National Assembly and apart from Ms Gulalai’s, case it would also take up other matters of a similarly sensitive nature.

On Friday, during a debate on the issue in the lower house, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Dr Nafisa Shah told the speaker that under the Harassment of Women in the Workplace law, it was mandatory for all institutions to have an ethics committee to deal with issues of harassment.

She said the women’s parliamentary caucus should be reactivated, adding that the body has not been performing its duties. “The caucus has never taken any action on such issues,” she added.

Newly-appointed Prime Minister Shahhid Khaqan Abbasi had also demanded that the speaker form a special committee, and the house also passed a motion endorsing the idea of forming a committee to probe into allegations of sexual harassment, levelled by Ms Gulalai against Imran Khan.

“It is a matter of a sensitive nature, which should not be discussed on the roads. A committee should be formed to discuss the issue in-camera,” the prime minister had said on the floor of the house, soon after chairing his first cabinet meeting.

“Both (Gulalai and Imran) are our respected members and this is a matter of the house, therefore it should be settled here,” he had said.

The PTI chief had welcomed the initiative, tweeting: “I welcome the committee as I did nothing wrong.”

In the house, both PTI and PPP were of the view that not only Ayesha Gulalai’s case, but other matters of a similar nature, including the derogatory remarks passed by Khawaja Asif against Dr Shireen Mazari last year, should also be probed by the committee.

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