Opposition’s outcry won’t stop accountability process, Fawad tells NA
ISLAMABAD: In a rejoinder to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif’s stinging speech in the assembly session after his arrest by NAB, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said the incumbent PTI government has neither instituted a single case against the younger Sharif nor the arrests were made on its directives.
The session of the lower house of Parliament was convened on the demand of the opposition to discuss the arrest of Shehbaz Sharif.
The minister said the session convened on the opposition’s demand will cost the national exchequer Rs100 million.
He said the PTI government has not even appointed an employee in NAB, adding that its chairman was even appointed following consultations between the previous PML-N government and the then opposition leader Khursheed Shah.
“Our government has not made cases against the opposition leader,” Fawad said, adding, “Neither the government instituted any case, nor were the arrests made on its directives.”
“Why the opposition is perturbed over the arrests of thieves and robbers,” he asked.
“NAB came into existence in 1997, and Saifur Rehman was made its chairman in the past. Everyone knows how former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was treated.”
“PML-N member Pervez Malik’s brother Malik Qayyum was a high court judge. Benazir Bhutto was made to appear in courts in two different cities in a single day. The [then] opposition leader used to ask the judge to enhance sentences.”
“Now the opposition leader is telling us what political victimization is?”
Fawad said no political leader was safe when the PML-N was in power as 32 cases were instituted against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“The opposition leader said if the allegations against him are proved, he would quit politics. He should tell whether this principle applies to his brother or not,” he asked.
Some people are not corrupt, yet they are worried over arrests, the minister said, adding that relations with China and Turkey will not strain over registration of cases against corrupt elements.
He categorically stated that the accountability process won’t stop owing to the opposition’s noise.
Fawad said NAB chairman cannot be summoned by a parliamentary body, adding that he is empowered to discharge his duty by raising above political influence.
Earlier, speaking on the floor of the assembly, the PML-N president claimed that the chairman NAB had already prepared arrest orders between July 5 and 6, but they were delayed ‘for mysterious reasons’.
“Is this the National Accountability Bureau or National Blackmailing Bureau,” the under-fire former CM said on the floor of the House.
The NA opposition leader claimed that NAB asked him to record testimony against Khawaja Asif and become an approver. “I replied them to control themselves,” he added.
“I later realised that people who would tell me that NAB is asking them to record testimony against Shahbaz Sharif was all true,” he stated.
He said the NAB summoned him in the ‘Saaf Company case’, where “DG informed me that you’re being arrested in Ashiana Housing scheme,” he said adding that was the painful experience. Sharif said ‘this is not Tabdeeli, this is something else.’
He accused the prime minister of being elevated on the coveted position as a result of ‘rigging’.