Anti-Money Laundering Bill will be opposed: Khursheed
NA opposition says Pakistan must mediate and avoid becoming part of Riyadh-Tehran conflict
ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the Anti-Money Laundering Bill for legalising black money, the united opposition in the National Assembly on Monday made it clear to the government that they will oppose the bill tooth and nail for being discriminatory and benefiting only a few families.
The leaders of all the political parties in the united opposition took this decision during a meeting at the Parliament House, chaired by the Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah.
Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Asad Umar and Shireen Mazari of the PTI, Rasheed Godail of the MQM, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed of the Awami Muslim League, Sahibzada Tariqullah, Muzammil Qureshi and Naveed Qamar attended the meeting.Talking to the media after the meeting, Khursheed Shah said the bill was discriminatory and would not benefit the country except for a few families.
Meanwhile, the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran echoed in the National Assembly on Monday, as the opposition demanded that the government should brief the House on its position on the conflict.
The opposition feared that if the conflict between the two countries further intensified, then it might not only affect the region but also Pakistan.The government’s stance was that it was monitoring the situation and will take time to make a statement on the issue.
However, the opposition insisted that Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz should take the House into confidence on the crisis enabling parliament to give its opinion.
The opposition’s stance was that the government should act as a mediator to cool down the situation rather than becoming a part of the conflict.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Pakistan assured the House that Pakistan will play a positive role. “It has been the policy of the government to promote unity and solidarity among the Muslim Ummah.”
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab though did not make any commitment of giving any policy statement on the issue during the National Assembly session on Tuesday (today) yet assured the House that the policy statement will be made as the government was monitoring the situation.
Sheikh Aftab Ahmad said Pakistan enjoyed brotherly relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran and did not want the situation to aggravate, as it will have far-reaching implications for the whole region.
Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq observed that it was a sensitive issue and it will be better to avoid any discussion on it till the policy statement of adviser to the PM on foreign affairs on this issue.
Earlier, raising the issue, PTI legislator Dr Shireen Mazari on a point of order said the situation was getting serious in the region due to the ongoing conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran but the Foreign Office was silent.
“We don’t know what is Pakistan’s position on the conflict, as the government is not taking parliament into confidence,” she said.She demanded that the government must make a policy statement on this issue and take the house in confidence.
Supporting Dr Shireen Mazari’s demand, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah also demanded that the government should come up in the House with a policy statement so that parliament should also give its opinion to the government to end the conflict.
He said parliament felt that the situation was serious as the two brotherly countries had come up against each other and it was better that Adviser to the PM on Foreign Affairs gave a policy statement on this issue and took parliament into confidence.
Deputy Parliamentary Leader of the PTI Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government’s response to the situation that it will take time to clear its position on the issue was not acceptable.
“The conflict between the two brotherly countries may have its impact on Pakistan. We do not want political point scoring on this issue, as Pakistan has brotherly relations with both Saudi Arabia and Iran and it is need of the hour that we play the role of a mediator rather than becoming part of the conflict,” he added.
MQM legislator Khalid Maqbool also seconded the opposition’s demand saying that the situation demanded Pakistan to mediate between the two countries rather than becoming a part of the conflict.
He said the government was yet to take parliament into confidence on becoming a part of the 34 countries’ military alliance.
Parliamentary Leader of Jamaat-e-Islami Sahibzada Tariqullah also supported the demand of all the opposition parties for taking parliament into confidence on the conflict. “Our role should be of mediator between the countries,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should have visited Saudi Arabia and Iran in this situation rather than visiting Sri Lanka.