The former PM says no govt bills meant to provide relief to people

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, in his farewell speech in Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday, said the outgoing National Assembly has been the worst assembly that passed all the government bills, which facilitated the government and did not provide relief to the masses.

Speaking on the floor of House for his farewell address, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that not even a single legislation in the last five years was meant to facilitate the people. “You seek record of five years’ legislation and you will see all the government bills were not meant to provide relief to people,” he said, adding that it was a matter of shame for all.

He said that today people have lost their confidence in the government system, which could not be restored through meaningless legislation but with deeds. He said it would require another 10 years to turn around the country’s economy and all were responsible for it, saying a truth commission could be formed to find out who did what with the country.

He pointed out a number of parliamentarians were surrounding the interior minister today for his signatures for government licenses. “Why this process cannot be streamlined,” he asked.

The speech of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi left the members spell-bound as he said the parliamentarians proved with their deeds that there was an impression that elected members are corrupt. “People say that all members of the assembly are corrupt and we show that they are correct,” Abbasi.

Shahid Khaqan pointed out that 40 to 53 bills of private members were passed in the National Assembly in a matter of few days, which raised questions about the credibility of members of the house.

Addressing the chair, Abbasi said that the speaker is considered as custodian of reputation and dignity of the House and he should have stopped the same exercise. “Dignity of the House has taken a nosedive,” he said. He said that there was an impression that parliamentarians come here to loot billions of rupees and go, saying that the chair and members have to take care of dignity of House.

He also questioned whether parliamentarians pay taxes or not whereas the parliament has the power to give approval to imposition of taxes on masses. He asked how the parliament could impose taxes on people when they themselves do not pay taxes. “This is not leadership that you do not pay taxes but impose on people,” he said.

He said when a member leaves the Parliament House in crores of rupees of taxes having security and over 10 private employees, the question arises whether he pays his taxes or not.

Abbasi said the government was running its functions with loans taken with 24 percent interest and the same is true for defence expenses and functioning of the parliament. Saying that elected representatives are not asked about taxes, the former prime minister said he remained in NAB’s custody but he was never questioned whether he paid taxes or not.

He said that the previous regime also caused an irreparable loss to dignity of the House when a member in custody was not produced, he used to remind then Speaker of his responsibilities to act as the custodian of the House. He recalled that every unparliamentary action was committed and abusive language was used in the House during the previous regime’s tenure.

Later, the speaker prorogued the National Assembly. The joint sitting of parliament, which was to be held at 5:30 pm on Thursday, was also prorogued.

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