Ruckus in Senate as Opp protests against info minister’s conduct

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–Fawad slams Mushahidullah after apologising earlier, says PML-N senator ‘appointed his entire family in PIA’

 

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Wednesday adjourned the Senate session till Friday as the opposition’s protest against Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry intensified over his criticism of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Mushahidullah Khan.

In the Senate session on Wednesday, the opposition demanded an apology from Fawad ‘again’ for his tirade in an earlier session of the National Assembly. The information minister had referred to opposition party members as “robbers and thieves”, and accused Mushahidullah of nepotism.

The PTI leader’s language was deemed unbecoming and undignified by opposition lawmakers, who had then proceeded to walk out of the assembly.

The threat of a protracted walkout had forced Chaudhry to apologise.

The information minister, however, was not willing to apologise for a second time, prompting the opposition to protest and threaten a boycott of the session.

The Senate chairman demanded an apology from the information minister over his remarks. However, Chaudhry refused to apologise and said: “Why should I apologise from those who looted national exchequer. Mushahidullah Khan appointed his entire family in the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).”

The opposition members, subsequently, protested over the remarks.

Mushahidullah Khan said that Fawad Chaudhry’s entire family is of ‘thieves’ and called him ‘an accomplice of General (r) Musharraf’. He also demanded the Senate chairman to order Chaudhry to leave the House.

Chaudhry continued his tirade against Senator Mushahidullah despite repeated orders from the Senate chairman.

As the ruckus intensified, Senate Chairman Sanjrani temporarily suspend the House proceedings. During the break, the chairman summoned the information minister to his chamber.

After the resumption of the session, the information minister apologised and said, “My comments were not meant to hurt anyone but I apologise for my remarks.”

But moments later, the information minister again attacked Mushahidullah Khan, alleging that the PML-N leader gave jobs and used his influence for the promotions for his relatives in PIA.

The comments triggered protest by the opposition benches leading to the adjournment of the session.

‘MUSHAHIDULLAH WAS APPOINTED A LOADER IN PIA’

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Fawad said Mushahidullah was appointed a loader in the PIA and became a senator due to serving his master, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Mushahidullah’s three brothers were also inducted in the PIA on the basis of nepotism, the information minister claimed.

His brother Rashidullah, Chaudhry said, was appointed the head of the PIA’s New York office, which was closed due to his inefficiency. His other brother was also made assistant manager in the New York office, while his maternal cousin Matiullah was appointed traffic assistant in Paris, he added.

Fawad said when Shujaat Azeem was appointed PIA chairman by Nawaz Sharif, Musahidullh’s brothers were also regularised in sheer violation of rules and without the approval of the board. Overall, 19 family members of Mushahidullh Khan, he said, were inducted in the PIA while over 100 others were also appointed on his recommendations.

The minister said that Rs3 million were spent on the hernia operation of Senator Mushahidullah Khan from the government exchequer. The Senate panel on civil aviation, which was supposed to check the wrongdoings of the organisation, was headed by Mushahidullah himself, he added.

The minister went on to say that he was not allowed by the Senate chairman to present facts about Mushahidullah’s corruption in the House on the plea of violation of privilege. He was referring to the matter of illegal appointments in the PIA to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigation, he added.

The minister further said that many national institutions, including the PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills and Radio Pakistan, were incurring huge losses due to the corrupt practices of previous governments. The people have stopped respecting politicians due to people like Mushahidullah, he added.

He said that the PTI government considered national exchequer and national institutions as a trust and would continue to expose the plunderers.