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Amendments in Rules of Business: Govt decides to purge parliamentary panels of ‘vested interests’

25 Jan, 2022
The sources said this issue was raised at a recent meeting of Federal Cabinet, presided over by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo
The sources said this issue was raised at a recent meeting of Federal Cabinet, presided over by the Prime Minister Imran Khan. File photo

The Government has reportedly decided to remove all those members of Standing Committees of National Assembly and Senate who have conflict of interest, through amendments in Rules of Business, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Presently, a number of chairmen of Standing Committees of Senate and National Assembly have business interests in different industries, whereas a number of wealthy members of committees also have business interests especially in the Senate who comprise of billionaires who have contributed huge funds to their parties.

The sources said this issue was raised at a recent meeting of Federal Cabinet, presided over by the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

According to sources, alluding to the nomination of members in the Standing Committees of the Senate and the National Assembly, who had conflict of interest, the House was in unison that MNAs and Senators associated with any industry should not be included in the Standing Committees pertaining to that particular industry.

It was agreed that the recommendation of the Cabinet be sent to the Chairman, Senate and Speaker National Assembly.

After a brief debate, the Cabinet recommended that to avoid conflict of interest, necessary amendments in the Rules of the Senate and the National Assembly, may be carried out to ensure that MNAs and Senators associated with an industry are not included in the Standing Committees pertaining to that particular industry.

The sources further said that unwarranted broadside by the opposition against the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill also came under discussion. It was observed that the controversy being stoked was politically motivated as the previous government had also passed a Bill in 2015 granting autonomy to the SBP.

In comparison to that Bill, the changes now being introduced were innocuous as SBP’s Board members would be appointed by the federal government. It was highlighted that global experience showed that central bank’s autonomy was important for sustainable economic growth.

Briefing the Cabinet on the latest Covid-19 situation in the country, the Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives apprised that the number of daily positive cases had surged from 300 to more than 5000. Though increase in hospitalization cases comes with a lag but these had already registered two and a half times growth. NCOC had taken certain measures such as restrictions on indoor weddings and serving of in-flight meals, but there was no need for shutting down commercial activities which mostly affect the poor, especially the daily-wage earners. The Cabinet underscored the need to observe precautionary SoPs and for providing impetus to the vaccination campaign.

The Cabinet directed that NCOC, in coordination with provincial governments, ensure strict observance of the precautionary SoPs for Covid-19 and acceleration of the vaccination campaign. The Cabinet did not support shutting down the commercial activities, which mostly affect the poor, especially the daily-wage earners.

This report was first published in Business Recorder on Jan 25, 2022.