Imran Khan addresses the UN General Assembly in New York. File
Tariq Butt, Correspondent /IANS
In an aggressive reaction against the opposition, Prime Minister Imran Khan has lashed out, saying that the political parties were sabotaging the governments efforts to exit the grey list of the Global Watchdog on money laundering and terror financing, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Imran's statement came as a reaction after the upper house (Senate of Pakistan) rejected two critical FATF-related bills through a voice vote, demanding apology from a sitting Member National Assembly (MNA) on his recent remarks.
Imran tweeted: "Today in Senate the opposition defeated 2 critical FATF-related bills: Anti Money Laundering & ICT Waqf bills. From day one I have maintained that the self-serving interests of the opposition leaders & the country's interests are divergent. As accountability noose has tightened."
Imran maintained that the opposition parties would put Pakistan on the FATF blacklist unless the government gives them NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), a term being used for a backdoor deal to facilitate opposition party leaders in corruption cases against them.
"They are hiding behind façade of democracy to protect their loot and plunder," he maintained adding that his government would not give them NRO under any circumstances.
"Let me make this clear; no matter what happens, my government will not allow any NRO as it would be betrayal of nation's trust in holding plunderers of public wealth accountable," he added.
"Musharraf gave NRO to two political leaders which quadrupled our debts and destroyed economy. There will be no more NROs," he asserted.
Earlier, the opposition parties rejected two government sponsored bills meant to meet the conditions of the FATF after leader of the House Dr Shahzad Wasim, belonging to the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI), refused to retract his earlier statement, condemning deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.
After the opposition had cooperated with the government in passing another two FATF-related laws last week, Wasim had severely taken on Sharif and Zardari accusing them of money laundering.
When the latest bills, which were passed by the National Assembly after an understanding with the opposition a day earlier, came up for consideration in the Senate, the opposition demanded of Wasim to take his remarks otherwise they would not support the passage of the legislation.
However, Wasim stood his ground and refused to budge. A heated debate ensued for more than two hours.
Finally, when Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani put the the Anti-Money Laundering (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Islamabad Capital Territory Waqf Properties Bill, 2020 to vote, they were disapproved by the opposition, which has numerical superiority over the ruling coalition in the Upper House of Parliament.
Videos widely shared on social media showed Pakistan Tahrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Ali Nawaz Awan shouting expletives at a member of the opposition and tossing a book at his rival, who hurled it back at him.
The ruling coalition candidate, Sadiq Sanjrani, on Friday won the election of the Senate Chairman defeating Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) nominee Yousaf Raza Gilani. In a second victory for the ruling coalition, Senator Mirza Mohammad Afridi was elected deputy chairman.
"The PDM must bear in mind that people don’t support looters. People around the world have come out on the streets to protest against corruption. Has anyone ever come out on the streets to support corruption of political leaders.”
Imran said that the government had asked former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to submit a surety bond but the judiciary sent him abroad without that. He noted that those who loot the country are showered with petals following their conviction from the accountability courts.
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