ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf rejected a disqualification reference against PPP MNA Asif Ali Zardari filed by former PTI cabinet member Zulfiqar Bukhari last month for allegedly receiving three bulletproof vehicles from Toshakhana.
Arab leaders broke the rules by gifting the cars to Mr. Zardari when he was president.
“The Speaker has rejected the reference of disqualification against Mr. Zardari and a copy of his decision has been sent to the Election Commission of Pakistan,” a statement from the NA Secretariat said on Wednesday.
Mr Bukhari submitted the reference against Mr Zardari to the National Assembly Secretariat on October 11 under Article 63(2) of the constitution which seeks to disqualify a member of parliament for being “dishonest”.
By reference, Mr Bukhari alleged that Mr Zardari, while serving as the country’s president, had “retained” the bulletproof cars gifted to him by Toshakhana in February 2009 as a result of “illegal relaxation of rules” given by then Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
According to references, the former president kept two BMW cars gifted to him by then UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and former Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi. Similarly, the reference alleged that Mr. Zardari illegally possessed a Toyota Lexus LX-470 which was also gifted to him by the then President of the United Arab Emirates.
The reference was apparently moved by the PTI in response to a similar case against party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan where the ECP had already disqualified him from being a member of the National Assembly.
The PTI had earlier submitted a disqualification reference to the ECP against Mr Zardari in December 2018 for allegedly concealing his assets. However, the party withdrew the reference a month later, announcing that it would take it to the Supreme Court.
On the day Mr Bukhari submitted the reference against Mr Zardari, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi, while addressing a joint session of Parliament in the evening, disqualified PTI senator and former finance minister Shaukat Tareen for working against the country. Integrity and National Security and announced on the floor of the House that he would formally submit a reference to the Senate Chairman on the matter.
Mr Abbasi disqualified Mr Tareen under Article 62(1)(g) of the constitution under which a member of parliament can be disqualified if found guilty of “acting against the integrity of the country”.
Mr Abbasi had a leaked telephone conversation between Mr Tareen and Punjab Finance Minister Mohsin Leghari in August in which former finance minister Mr Leghari was heard telling the federal government that Punjab could not post a budget surplus because it was in ruins. Flood which was the main demand of the International Monetary Fund for the bailout package.
In the same audio clip, Mr Tareen allegedly told Mr Leghari that he had asked Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Ghagra to do the same.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister alleged that the leaked audio proved that Mr. Tareen was trying to “sabotage” the IMF agreement under a “conspiracy” and was thus acting against the country’s integrity and national security. The Minister said in Article 62(1)(g) of the Constitution, no person against the national integrity of the country can be a member of parliament.
Mr. Abbasi alleged that the former PTI minister conspired to create a Sri Lanka-like situation in the country and turn Pakistan into a defaulter state.
Meanwhile, the NA Secretariat has issued a 20-point agenda for the session of the lower house of Parliament starting on Thursday in an apparent move to counter the ongoing long march and the position proposed by the PTI.
The government called the session on Thursday as the PTI had earlier announced that it would reach Islamabad on Friday (November 4).
However, the PTI has now delayed its long march and has now announced that it will enter the capital on November 11, thus creating a tough situation for the government as it now has to continue the session for another week despite no significant business. to do
Published in Dawn, 3rd November, 2022