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Bilawal for production orders for Dawar, Wazir ahead of finance bill vote

ISLAMABAD, June 24 (WNP): PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari Monday urged the National Assembly speaker to issue production orders for MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir so that all opposition members are able to vote on the finance bill currently under debate in the House.

“Mr Speaker I hope that by tomorrow… when the opposition needs to have its full numbers, you will [issue the production orders] for the MNAs of North and South Waziristan. Otherwise, accusations will be made that this (non-issuance of production orders) is nothing short of rigging the budget,” he said.

Dawar and Wazir were arrested after the May 26 Kharqamar checkpost incident in North Waziristan.

Bilawal and other opposition members have repeatedly asked the speaker to issue the production orders of arrested MNAs so they can participate in the ongoing session.

The production orders for PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique were issued last week but Dawar and Wazir are still unable to attend the ongoing parliament session.

Speaker Asad Qaiser, during today’s sitting, said that he had asked the law ministry for advice. Bilawal responded that the speaker did not require the law ministry’s opinion and can issue production orders of any member he wishes. Qaiser assured Bilawal that he will “personally look into this matter”.

Bilawal also criticised the formation of a Commission of Inquiry to probe the rise in debts over the last 10 years and said: “After undermining our political, human and democratic rights, they (government) now want to undermine the sovereignty of this very parliament.

“I want to ask, what is this ridiculously unconstitutional debt commission and how is it possible that the collective wisdom of this House can be questioned by the likes of NAB (National Accountability Bureau), ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) or Military Intelligence?”

“Those institutions are answerable to this House. This House is not answerable to any institution.”

The PPP chairman said that if the government wished to “review” the decisions of the parliament, the “appropriate forum [to do so] would be your own finance committee or the Public Accounts Committee, or we can form a whole new committee”.

“Budgetary decisions, including debt, are the sole domain of the National Assembly. We will not subject ourselves before any institution, let alone some debt commission. This is absolutely undemocratic and unconstitutional,” he said.

Bilawal heaped criticism on the proposed budget as well, saying that he cannot see “people being economically murdered”. He said that the government “will have to give economic rights otherwise you will have to go home”.

He regretted that no funds were allocated to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) in the budget and warned that his party will not let the government “wind up an internationally accredited BISP”.

Bilawal accused the government of making a “censored Pakistan”, lamenting that the parliament was expunging words from speeches.

“Anyone who thinks that censorship will make the environment [of the country] better, I want to explain to them that you are only pouring oil on fire. This suppressed frustration will find an outlet somewhere and it will only have negative consequences,” he warned.

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