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PPP’s thinly-veiled attempt to outwit the NAB

KARACHI: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) seems determined to use all its resources to ensure the early release of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who was arrested from Islamabad on Wednesday by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) One such move was to summon the Sindh Assembly session five days ahead of its scheduled date, which the ruling party is likely to use to convey its anger over the speaker’s arrest.

On Thursday, the chief minister, flanked by his cabinet, also demanded action against the NAB for harassing Durrani’s family members.Incensed by Durrani’s arrest, PPP lashes out at CentreA riot predictedIn a bid to outwit the physical remand given to the NAB, the deputy speaker Rehana Leghari also issued production orders for Durrani, asking the NAB to present him for the session.Issuing a letter to the NAB Director-General, the Sindh Assembly secretary referred to Rule 82(2) of the Rules of Procedure of the Sindh Assembly and called for Durrani to be produced in the Sindh Assembly. “Madam Speaker has summoned the above member to attend the session of provincial assembly starting from Friday.

It is therefore requested to please ensure the production of Agha Siraj Durrani, MPA, till prorogation of the session.”According to a PPP lawmaker familiar with the development, the treasury members plan to wear black armbands in the session and pass a privilege motion or resolution against the NAB.The session, which is slated to commence at 2 pm will likely witness uproar as the opposition has also devised a strategy to counter the PPP’s plans.Murad demands action against NAB Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the NAB officials had not only arrested Durani illegally, they also transgressed the sanctity of `chadar and chardiwari’ by intruding into his house, misbehaving with the women present in the house and keeping them hostage for over seven hours.
“This is unprecedented in a civilised society,” he said, demanding the NAB Chairman to take action against the officials involved in the episode. He questioned if the NAB had so much evidence and documentary proof that they decided to arrest a person [Agha Siraj Durani] who held a Constitutional position in the Sindh Assembly, then why did they raid his house in search of evidence.The CM made these remarks on Thursday while addressing a press conference at the Committee Room of the old Sindh Assembly Building. He was flanked by PPP Sindh President Nisar Khuhro and his Adviser on Information Barrister Murtaza Wahab.
Shah said that Durrani was a respected senior parliamentarian. His father, Agha Sadaruddin and uncle had been speakers of the Sindh Assembly and now he was holding this Constitutional position.

“The way he was arrested from a hotel in the federal capital was disgraceful and unconstitutional,” he said, adding that as far as the allegations leveled against Durani were concerned, he would face them. In the past he had faced a number of cases and was acquitted.The CM also expressed displeasure over the raid conducted by the NAB authorities at Durrani’s house where his wife, three daughters and a maid were present.He said he had spoken to Durrani’s wife and she had told him that the raiding party, which included two women, forced them to stand in the lawn.
Durani’s daughter had tried to stop a NAB official from smoking when he lit a cigarette, the CM quoted Durrani’s wife as saying. In reaction, the NAB official exhaled the smoke into her face.“This was the way the women were treated inside the house of a person who is Speaker of the Sindh Assembly,” he lamented.Zardari calls Durrani’s arrest a challenge to democracyProduction ordersThe chief minister said that the deputy speaker had summoned the Sindh Assembly session for 2pm on Friday, for which she had issued the production orders of the speaker.

“I am sure the NAB authorities will produce him for the session,” he said.In response to a question, the chief minister said that the registration of an FIR against the NAB officials for raiding their house was the family’s prerogative.“If they want to register a case, we will support them,” he said.To another question, the chief minister said that there was no need for the speaker to resign.“Even if he resigns, he will remain a member of the Assembly,” he said, adding that in 2016, when Durrani had contested the election of the speaker, his opponent was in jail custody but they had not raised any objection. He added, however, that it would be Durrani’s personal decision whether he wanted to continue as speaker or not.

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