Rabbani chides PM, says he cannot exempt anyone from appearing before parliament

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal (left), Prime Minister Imran Khan (centre), and ex-Senate chairman Raza Rabbani. — APP/PID/File
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal (left), Prime Minister Imran Khan (centre), and ex-Senate chairman Raza Rabbani. — APP/PID/File
  • Rabbani berates PM over exempting NAB chairman for appearing before PAC.
  • “Step taken by prime minister is an infringement on powers of parliament.”
  • He demands government take back its decision, NA speaker take notice.

ISLAMABAD: Ex-Senate chairman Raza Rabbani has expressed strong reservations over Prime Minister Imran Khan’s decision to exempt National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal from appearing before parliamentary committees.

The PPP senator said the executive, even if it be the prime minister, could not exempt and or nominate another person to appear before the parliament, The News reported Saturday.

“The step so taken by the prime minister in the matter of the NAB chairman is an infringement on the powers of parliament, violation of the rules and against the concept of trichotomy of power as envisaged in the constitution.”

The senator’s reservations came after an in-camera session of the PAC, held under the chairmanship of Rana Tanveer Hussain, was adjourned due to the absence of the NAB chairman, who appointed director-general (DG) NAB headquarters to appear on behalf of him.

The reason for Iqbal not attending the parliamentary committee meeting was revealed through a letter that was written to the secretary of the assembly.

The letter claimed that PM Imran Khan had approved that the director-general would represent chairman NAB before the PAC and the constitutional and statutory bodies.

Rabbani said the parliament is supreme and parliamentary accountability is an essential ingredient of a federal parliamentary form of government as envisaged in the constitution.

The business of a committee is, in fact, an extension of the business of the house, which can be controlled by the chairman or speaker of the house — and no one else.

He said this “act has also cast a deeper shadow on the already questionable independence of the NAB, which takes refuge under the wings of the executive”.

The former chairman Senate said the executive will be well advised to withdraw this order as it is an interference in the functioning of the internal affairs of the house and violates the sovereignty of Parliament.

Senator Rabbani demanded of the government to take back its decision and Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser take notice of this gross violation.

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