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November 9, 2018

Govt, opposition agree on NA code of conduct

Top Story

November 9, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Fed up with slanging matches and use of non-parliamentary language in the National Assembly to the disappointment of the nation, the government and the opposition agreed on Thursday that there should be a code of conduct for the members.

The House resumed its session with Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri in the chair. The Defence Minister Pervez Khattak suggested that parliament should be run without indulging in character-assassination of political opponents. He said chaos and commotion in the parliament conveyed an extremely negative image of the parliamentarians to the nation and the international community.

The Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif agreed to Khattak and said decent and appropriate language should be used in the parliament to keep its sanctity. Continuing, Shahbaz said some parliamentarians have the habit of dishing out dirt at the fellow opposition leaders and members without a cogent reason. He said the parliamentarians’ abusive language has disappointed the nation. “For the past few days, we have turned this august house into a fish market.

This trend must come to an end now,” he said. He said all the members ought to use parliamentary language and their stances must be supported by facts. “Let’s talk on all the important national issues in a parliamentary, democratic way; let’s not disappoint the nation,” he said.

The PPP leader and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf also supported the proposal for devising a code of conduct for the parliamentarians and assured his party’s support to the government.

Taking part in the discussion on national economy, PML-N's senior leader Ahsan Iqbal advised the government to recognise the successes of the past government, adopt realistic policies and stop political victimisation of opponents if it wanted to take the country’s economy forward.

He called for transparent accountability so the government officers do not feel scared while making decisions. “Today, the government officers hesitate to take decision even in the country’s interests because they fear arrest,” Ahsan said, pointing out that there is a status-quo in the country’s politics. He said if the government and its managers tried to make the successes of the last government doubtful, it would affect the market’s sentiments reducing the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

“The more worrying thing than increase in the burden of foreign debt is the reduction in the FDI, which is needed to be arrested,” he said, adding the FDI was on the rise but has started to drop due to political crisis in the country during the last one year’s tenure of the PML-N government.

“In the joint communique with China during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit, the Pakistan government admitted that CPEC is a successful project,” Ahsan said. Criticising the ‘Apna Ghar’ housing scheme, he said the government has made no budgetary allocations for the project.

He further said in order to give two million jobs, there is a need to keep the economic growth rate between 6 and 8 percent. He pointed out that the PML-N government inherited 3% GDP growth rate, which was increased to 5.8% in five years.

Syed Naveed Qamar of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said the finance minister could not satisfy people by just claiming that the issue of current account deficit and the balance of payments has been resolved after receiving $3 billion as the amount is unusable for the government. He also asked the government to move for resource mobilization and revenue generation to meet expenses. The PPP parliamentarians observed that the government has slowed down the economic growth due to increasing inflation and increase in the interest rate, observing that inflation rate is likely to reach double figures by end of the ongoing fiscal year.

Talking about Pakistan’s offer of mediation to Yemen, he said the Arab countries and Israel are getting closer to each other and Iran is being encircled. He asked if Pakistan had also succumbed to pressure in this situation. “Pakistan should not move for any long term destabilisation in the present situation,” he opined.

The Minister for Education, Shafqat Mehmood, said Pakistan would now get the IMF programme on better terms and conditions and pointed out that the issue of current account deficit has also been resolved. Shafqat said $3 billion pledged by Saudi Arabia is a reflection of confidence Prime Minister Imran Khan’s policies. He said the PTI government has inherited many financial challenges when it came to power; however, it explored many options, including seeking help from friendly countries and delaying the decision to go to the IMF. The visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia and China were very successful, he said. He said governor State Bank of Pakistan along with a delegation will visit China on Friday to discuss the details on the points agreed during the prime minister’s visit.

Shafqat said they are making efforts to enhance the country’s revenue base and reduce expenditures. The austerity drive launched by the government in public sector is a step in this direction.The minister said the housing programme launched by the government will boost the economy and economic activities. He said the government and the opposition could together take the country out of crises saying a charter of economy could be signed to keep a positive trajectory.

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