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Posts tagged as Durrani

Opposition holds mock assembly session

KARACHI: The opposition on Tuesday continued its protest for the second day in Sindh Assembly and later held a “mock assembly session” at the main gate of the assembly building, demanding that the chairmanship of Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Amid the noisy session that started with the protest, the lawmakers belonging to Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) staged a sit-in before the Speakers podium and shouted slogans of Go Zardari go, no corruption no.The treasury members responded by shouting slogans of, Ro Imran ro [Cry Imran, cry].Opposition threatens mock NA sessionPakistan Peoples Party minister Imtiaz Shaikh addressing the Speaker said, This is not the way.He said that the opposition was displaying rowdyism in the House.Unable to control the rumpus in the House, the Speaker adjourned the session for ten minutes, but the opposition MPAs leaving their seats staged a sit-in in front of the Speakers chair and continued their protest.
When the Speaker returned, he adjourned the session till Thursday.After the session, the opposition parties gathered outside the assembly and held a mock session nominating Hussain to chair the session.
Naqvi was nominated as the opposition leader and Khawaja Izharul Hassan as the parliamentary leader of his party. Hussain, who had donned the Speakers gown, presided over the session on a chair while members sat on the stairs of the assembly building.The lawmakers moved resolutions on water, sanitation, health and education issues.Wasimuddin Qureshi of MQM-P criticising Speaker Durrani, who is currently in custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and comes to chair the session, said, Not only the Speaker, but the entire assembly seems to be under NABs remand.
He said that Durrani comes to assembly soon after NAB finishes its morning investigations due to which the session scheduled at 2pm is delayed by two to three hours.He expressed dismay over the officials of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) who according to him have turned blind eye to peoples problems.
Opposition stages mock session outside parliamentHaleem Adil Sheikh of PTI, while addressing the mock session drew attention towards civic issues and alleged that the ruling party PPP had even failed to provide potable water and sanitation in Larkana, Benazirabad and other strongholds of the party. Nothing will happen in this assembly.
It is defending the thieves sitting inside it.  According to Sheikh, PTI and other opposition members who have gotten a mandate from their constituencies continue raising genuine issues of their voters.Garbage is piling up in Karachi every day, he said lamenting, Local government department has totally failed and we have no other option, but to throw the garbage at the ministers doorsteps.Barrister Hasnain Mirza, Nusrat Seher Abbasi of GDA and Rashid Khilji of MQM-P also spoke.While speaking to the media, PPP Minister Nasir Shah termed the oppositions protest as drama. He said, This protest is aimed at getting cheap publicity.He added that there were a total 34 standing committees of various government departments in Sindh Assembly of which 14 have been offered to opposition parties.  In these 14 committees, we have given them eight departments of their choice, but they are demanding PAC under their command, which is not possible.
Referring to the rules of the assembly, Shah said, There is no rule or law that obligates the government to appoint opposition leader as PAC chairperson. No one can challenge us even if we dont allot a single standing committee to them.
th, 2019View on tribune.com.pk

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Sindh Assembly censures NAB over Durrani’s arrest

Despite repeated attempts by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Opposition parties refused to support the resolution. Durrani, who was arrested by the NAB on Wednesday, was brought to the session after acting speaker Rehana Leghari issued his production.Durrani, who was arrested by the NAB on Wednesday, was brought to the session after acting speaker Rehana Leghari issued his production orders.
The resolution, moved by PPP MPA Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran, took exception to the targeted victimisation under the guise of accountability, terming the move selective and discriminatory.We vociferously renounce the way and manner of the arrest of Sindh Assembly speaker without any offence being proved against him, reads the resolution.
This house unequivocally condemns the reprehensible manner in which the search of his home was conducted by NAB officials, which went on for hours at a time when only his wife, daughters and daughter-in-law were at home, it adds.This house also resolves and recommends to the government of Sindh and chief minister to approach the federal government to request an inquiry by chairman NAB into reprehensible behaviour of NAB officials, who raided Speaker Agha Siraj Durranis house.Chaos in the HouseEarlier, as the question and answer session came to an end, PPP MPA Isran sought the speakers permission to move his resolution.  At this, the opposition members also stood up from their seats.Hasnain Mirza, the parliamentary leader of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), waving a copy of his resolution, said, I also want to move a resolution on the Kashmir issue and Indian atrocities.NAB granted eight-day physical remand of Agha Siraj DurraniChief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah intervened.
We want to bring a resolution on NAB and will later consider the Kashmir issue, he said. Mr Speaker, since you are the victim in the NAB case, we request you to hand over the proceedings to the deputy speaker for a while, so that we can debate this resolution and pass it.
GDAs Mirza , supported by other opposition members, however, refused to budge. Kashmir is a more important issue, he said.Let us pass it first, and then you can take up your speakers agenda.At this, the CM became emotional.
No. We will take up the NAB issue first and then you can bring a joint resolution on Kashmir by re-inviting Speaker Durrani to take part in it too.The back-and-forth arguments between the CM and Mirza grew more heated. Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi, as well as other Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and GDA MPAs started protesting in the House Kashimr, Kashmir.
We need Kashmir, they shouted, before staging a token walkout.The chief minister stood up again to clarify his stand.No one can deny the importance of Kashmir. We are ready to bring a joint resolution on it and want to convey a strong message against India atrocities.We will smash Indian eyes, if they try to attack us, he said.Amid the Oppositions protest, Durrani left the session, giving his seat to the deputy speaker.
Acting speaker Leghari allowed the PPP MPA to move a resolution against the NAB. PPP lawmakers Saeed Ghani and Imtiaz Shaikh tried to woo the opposition MPAs to return to the House, but their efforts remained unsuccessful.
Saleem Baloch and Sadia Javed of the PPP as well as Kanwar Naveed Jameel and Khwaja Izharul Hassan of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Paksitan, expressed their sympathies with Durrani and condemned the raid at his house. We condemn the NAB officials behavior with the family of Agha Siraj Durrani, but cant support the resolution, said MQM-Ps Hasan.The CM requested the deputy speaker to move the resolution for a vote so that the issue of Kashmir could be taken up. As the resolution was moved, MPAs from the treasury supported it, while the opposition members voted against it.
Durranis speechEarlier, as the Assemblys agenda came to an end, Speaker Durrani narrated his story in the session. I want to inform this House about the episode.PPP’s thinly-veiled attempt to outwit the NABHe said that the NAB arrested him from a hotel in Islamabad and later harassed and humiliated his family members. The action was not taken against me, but against the Speakers chair, he said.
After taking me into custody, the NAB officials barged into my home and kept my entire family hostage at gunpoint for more than seven hours.  No one can tolerate this, he said.Durrani, who looked frustrated with the authorities, said, My family has rendered scarifies for Pakistan and were one of the signatories to the first resolution passed by the then Sindh Assembly for the creation of Pakistan in the 1940s.He said the NAB officials not only went through the cupboards and other items present in his house, but also harassed his daughters and grandchildren.I am the Speaker of this House and was not running away. I fail to understand why they treated the Speakers family like criminals, he lamented.
This was all done in my absence, otherwise the NAB or anyone else wouldnt have dared enter my home and behave like this, he remarked.Durrani requested the chief minister to investigate the the matter and present a report in the Assembly regarding the raid on his home and harassment of his family members.The Speaker also expressed concern over some Opposition MPAs who welcomed the NABs actions and demanded his resignation. I am not a convicted person.It is just an inquiry against me. I am Speaker of this august House, he said.Before the session commenced on Friday, Durrani met party leaders and his family members after he was brought to the Assembly premises by the NAB. PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also visited the Assembly to meet Durrani.

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All the (ex) president’s men

The high-profile arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on Wednesday signals the beginning of the end of the unfinished agenda of the 2013 Karachi operation, launched to eradicate terrorism, militant wings of political parties, terror.
It seems that the back-to-back arrests of the former president’s men may conclude with the nabbing of the “key man” himself.Interestingly, even with the change of government in 2018, the main objective of the operating authorities remains unchanged. On the contrary, with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the centre and Imran Khan as prime minister, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) have emerged more powerful in the last six months and further expanded their scope of action. While all the ex-president’s men are now in trouble, the man himself, Asif Ali Zardari, announced on Wednesday that he always considered “prison as his second home”. His first home once used to be the Prime Minister House, and later the President House.
It is highly unlikely that Zardari will be revisiting his first home again, but the possibility of him ending up in his second home are high.And if that were to happen, how will his party, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), counter the move? One option will be to use the Parliament and provincial assemblies to lodge a protest, and in turn create political turmoil.
Sources within the party say Zardari may even be ready to sacrifice his men, in case the NAB comes looking for him.Durrani was arrested by the anti-graft bureau from Islamabad in connection to a 2008 probe for allegedly owning assets beyond his means of income.The speaker could be the latest addition to the 2013 clean-up operation, which saw the targeting of Zardari’s other men, Dr Asim Hussain, Manzoor Kaka, Nisar Morai, and Sharjeel Inam Memon.In 2015, for the first time in years, the NAB and FIA resuscitated, it seems, as big stories of corruption began to make front-page news and bulletins.That immediately led to tension between the PPP and then ruling party, the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N). And for the first time, the Sindh government threatened to withdraw the powers of the paramilitary forces in the province.
Dr Asim Hussain’s arrest in the Rs460 billion NAB case, and another of providing medical treatment to terrorists, was the turning point. It led to the breakup of relations between former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.The probe against the Omni Group and Anwar Majeed and Co. was also initiated by the NAB during the previous government’s tenure.Majeed’s office and home were raided as a result.Yet, the last nail in the coffin of the Sharif-Zardari ties came when one of the premier intelligence agencies picked up three close aides of Zardari, one from Islamabad and two from Sindh, and kept them under detention for a few days.This put an end to all kinds of political and even personal ties between the two leaders, despite Sharif’s clarifications that he was not involved. He even told the then interior minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, to not go too far against the PPP.
Separately, the FIA initiated a high-profile probe into the fake accounts case on the report of the State Bank of Pakistan. In June 2015, the FIA raided the Sindh Building Control Authority’s office and took away some 16,000 files, most of which were later handed over to the NAB, which spawned an investigation into the ‘China-cutting’ and ‘Real estate’ scam.
During the course of investigation, the ex-president’s man and head of the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), Manzoor Kaka, managed to escape. The anti-graft agencies then tightened their grip around alleged terror financing and money laundering by swooping the offices of the fisheries department.Nisar Morai, who is also considered close to Zardari, was arrested in connection to the case.In 2015, for the first time an apex meeting was held, attended by Sharif, Zardari, former Chief of Army Staff General (retd) Raheel Sharif, the head of the intelligence agency, and Lt General Bilal Akbar, the then-DG Rangers Sindh.
The Rangers presented a charge-sheet against the Sindh government, which shocked both Zardari and former Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah.This week, the PPP leadership and the Sindh government were expecting the arrest of Zardari, his sister, Faryal Talpur, and Murad Ali Shah after the Supreme Court rejected their review appeal in the benami accounts case.
But NAB surprised them by going after Durrani instead.Zardari would never take the risk of dissolving the Sindh Assembly or resigning from the assemblies, as the PPP leadership fears falling into a trap.This means that, in the coming days, more of the ex-president’s men will be cuffed. But will this eventually lead to “the man” being arrested? Regarding which a reliable source said: “When it comes to arresting him, we do not want to bowl a no-ball.

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PPP leaders rush to court for pre-arrest bails in wake of Durrani’s arrest

KARACHI: The arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on corruption charges has left many leaders and ministers of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in a state of fear and panic.

The SHC accepted on Friday the bail pleas of three PPP leaders who included Aijaz Jakhrani, Taimur Talpur and Razzaq Raja.The high court also restrained the NAB from further investigations against former local government minister and MPA Jam Khan Shoro who is already on bail.Shoro in his plea maintained that NAB was carrying out multiple inquiries against him.I acquired bail from SHC but have concerns about getting arrested in further NAB inquiries.
NAB should be stopped from carrying out any further inquiry against me. The arrest should be made conditional to the permission of the high court, Shoro said in his plea.Sindh Assembly censures NAB over Durrani’s arrestWhile restraining NAB from further inquiry, the court also issued notice to NABs director general and others for March 14.Khalid Javed, counsel for Shoro, submitted before the court that Jam Khan Shoro has his own CNG station in Hyderabad but NAB was harassing his client on an eight-month old call-up notice.He said land department has given in writing that CNG stations land is owned by the applicant but land department is being pressurised to declare the land as government property. He said: NAB is harassing his client on political grounds.
Former federal minister and MNA Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, who is an accused in a case of making assets beyond known sources of income, had also filed the pre-arrest bail. After he was granted bail, he left the court without responding to the questions of media.Jakhranis counsel informed the court that his client had been issued a notice to appear before NAB as a witness but they have reservation that anti-graft body might arrest him.While granting bail against a surety of Rs 1 million, the court directed him to cooperate with the NAB in their inquiry.
Taimur Talpur, who is the provincial minister of climate change and coastal development, argued in his plea that NAB sent him a call up notice in January 2019.PPP’s thinly-veiled attempt to outwit the NAB The NAB has sought the details of my assets.I dont know what is the accusation against me? NAB should be stopped from arresting me, Talpur said in his plea. The court granted him bail against a surety of Rs 0.5m till March 29.Another PPP member of the Sindh assembly, Abdul Razzaq Raja, also got pre-arrest bail against the surety of Rs 1m fearing his arrest by NAB in a corruption case relating the Malir Development Authority (MDA).Raja stated before the court that he was given notice by NAB in connection with MDA affairs and he had submitted his reply but due to the current political situation he was afraid of his arrest.rd, 2019.

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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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Incensed by Durrani’s arrest, PPP lashes out at Centre

KARACHI: The provincial government and members of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) have taken strong exception to the arrest of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in Islamabad by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday …
The party has decided to challenge the arrest in the court and protest in the upcoming session of the Sindh Assembly, scheduled for February 27.The partys chairperson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari took to to lash out against the move. Attack on Speaker of federating unit is unacceptable, he tweeted.
Undemocratic attempt to dislodge Sindh govt. Failed before will fail again.Independent institutions shouldnt unwittingly be part of political engineering, he added.His sister, Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari, also expressed her concern on the micro-blogging platform.Chairman Bilawal was placed on exit control list post his Dec 27 speech and later PTI did a press conference claiming to take over Sindh. There has been no subtlety on what PTI want.Cases and ECL for Sindh chief minister and arrest of speaker, all insult to Pakistan and democracy.The arrestDurrani, who was facing an inquiry relating to the accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, was arrested by NAB Karachi in Islamabad.
After getting his transit remand, he will be moved to Karachi for further investigation today [Wednesday].This is the first time that a sitting Speaker of a legislative assembly has been arrested in the country.A source privy to the development told The Express Tribune that two other inquiries of corruption and illegal appointments are already pending before the NAB against Durrani. He has been arrested in the assets beyond means inquiry, but the NAB will also look into other inquiries against him, said the source, adding that there has been massive bungling in the construction of MPAs Hostel of the Sindh Assembly and hundreds of people were given jobs in the local government department in violation of the rules when Durrani was minister of the department from 2008 to 2013.
Sindh govts stanceAccording to the Sindh government, the Speaker is the custodian of the House representing 168 MPAs elected from various constituencies of the province. Therefore, he [Durrani] cannot be arrested merely on the basis of an inquiry.
But the NAB officials were of the view that the arrest came after Durrani did not present himself before the inquiry committee, even after being issued three notices.Soon after news of his arrest, PPP ministers held a press conference, where they alleged that there were separate sets of laws operational one for the PPP and another for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and its allies.Barrister Murtaza Wahab, who was flanked by provincial ministers, including Syed Awais Shah and Shabbir Khan Bajarani, referred to the Constitution and said, The arrest of Speaker Durrani was a breach of Article 25 of the Constitution under which all citizens are equal and entitled to equal protection before the law. No reference or case is registered against him.He is innocent until proven guilty, he said.Quoting inquiries against incumbent Prime Minister Imran Khan and his cabinet members, including the National Assembly speaker and Punjab Assembly speaker, Barrister Wahab said, None of them have been arrested.
On the contrary, they are enjoying all perks and privileges and full protocol.Transport Minister Owais Shah called Durrani a custodian of the Sindh Assembly elected by 99 MPAs.The NAB has breached the privilege of the Sindh Assembly. We will protest it on all forums, he said.We are not against the accountability process, but want to know why such actions are not being taken against opposition parties [in Sindh Assembly], he said, adding that they will devise a strategy on it soon.The PPP ministers were of the opinion that the people of Sindh were being victimized as they had voted for PPP, but the PTI would not succeed in its nefarious designs.
Later in the evening, the PPP leaders gathered at the Chief Minister House to devise a strategy in light of Durranis arrest. The meeting decided to approach the court against the move as well as take up the matter in the upcoming session of the provincial assembly.
PTI demands resignationOn the other hand, the PTIs Sindh lawmakers demanded the resignation of the Speaker, given his involvement in corruption cases. MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman, who is also the partys city chief said, Agha Siraj Durrani has lost the moral authority to remain on the seat.
He himself should resign.Zaman added that all the local bodies ministers, who had ruled Sindh in the past, were on the NABs radar.
Corruption will end in Pakistan, he said. Referring to the resignations of PTI lawmakers Aleem Khan, Babar Awan and Azam Swati, Zaman called on the PPP to follow the PTIs example and replace the speaker.Sindh Assembly sessionThe Sindh Assembly session has been summoned for February 27. According to officials, under the prevalent circumstances, the deputy speaker, Rehana Leghari, will chair the session.If the speaker is on leave or absent for some reasons the deputy speaker will work as the acting speaker, the Sindh Assembly Secretary told The Express Tribune, while referring to Article 30 of the Constitution.  The acting speaker can issue his production order to attend the session, said the secretary.When asked who would chair the session if Durrani came to the Assembly, he said, He is the speaker and will preside over the session whenever he is in the Assembly. st, 2019.

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