Government Ready to Sit with Opposition on Public Interest Issues: Shehzad Akbar

ISLAMABAD, Jan 4 (APP): Advisor to the Prime Minister on Accountability and Interior Barrister Shahzad Akbar on Monday said that the government was ready to sit with opposition parties only to discuss public interest issues.

Speaking about a motion moved by leader of the opposition Raja Zafarul Haq and others, he said that Pakistan’s accountability process was in line with the international democracies. He said that Pakistan is bound to have an accountability bureau under the United Nations convention on corruption. Akbar said that latest rulings of FATF had also suggested to make anti-corruption laws more stringent. He said that most of the cases against opposition’s leaders were registered by the previous governments.

PTI believes in non interference in NAB affairs, he said, and rejected the opposition parties’ stance of political victimization. He said that the assets beyond known sources law exists in many other countries. He said that accountability bureau and its laws were not made by the PTI government. He said that National Accountability Ordinance was introduced in 1996, adding that interim government at that time made prominent journalist Najam Sethi its first chairman.

He said that this law was endorsed by PML-N government in 1997 with a single amendment and passed as an act of Parliament through which cases could be investigated from 1990 instead of 1985. PPP and PML-N remained in government for ten years and they made many legislations but avoided a single amendment in the NAB laws. Shahzad said that in the last two years of the PTI government, NAB has recovered Rs. 389 billion. On the other hand the PMl-N-and PPP during their 10 year governments had recovered only Rs 104 billion which reflects the clear difference in performance.

He said that the anti-corruption department in Punjab during the last 27 months had recovered Rs 206 billion while only Rs 3 billion had been recovered in ten years of the last governments. Responding to a question on human rights violations he said that a total of 13 deaths were reported during NAB custody. He said that out of 13, 10 deaths happened during judicial custody and NAB has nothing to do with these deaths. He said that Asad Munir also died at home and not in the custody of NAB.

He said that two deaths were reported in NAB lock up but there was no proof of torture. He said that the opposition not only alleged the NAB but the government for victimisation and ‘if you alleged the government you will get a response from us also’.

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