ISLAMABAD – Taking to task National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral (r) Fasih Bukhari for issuing statement regarding magnitude of corruption in the country, ruling PPP senators on Friday rejected Bureau chief’s fresh claims that country was losing Rs 10-12 billion to corruption daily.

Criticism on NAB also came from Chairman Senate Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari who said the Bureau had given a new definition to corruption and ruled that the House committee could summon anybody including NAB on this issue. Chairman NAB on Thursday had said that Pakistan was losing Rs 12 billion due to corruption per day.

Senior PPP leader and presidential spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar, on a point of order, said figures about corruption presented by Chairman NAB through a position paper at his press conference were not based on facts. He made these remarks after Zafar Ali Shah, an opposition lawmaker, criticised the federal government's inability to check corruption in the light of chairman NAB's remarks. He said if this huge money could be saved, PPP could realize the dream of its great leader and founder ZA Bhutto to give ‘Roti, Kapra aur Makan’ to everyone.

Babar said government had sought a detailed report about corruption along with suggestions from NAB but its chairman presented only a two and a half paper report devoid of facts.

"Chairman NAB says corruption is due to indirect losses in agriculture and wealth taxes, loadshedding and tax to GDP ratio," he said.  Expressing his astonishment over the claims of corruption in agriculture and wealth taxes, he said, "Wealth tax was abolished by the parliament in 2001 and agriculture sector was not in the tax net so far". He was also surprised over Fasih’s claim that as the tax to GDP ratio was not up to 18 per cent in Pakistan, corruption was rampant in the country.

"NAB chairman’s claim that corruption is due to energy losses because of loadshedding is also funny," he viewed. He further said that he was not defending corruption at all but bureau’s chairman should come out with cogent arguments on corruption.

Lawmakers representing minorities alleged that minorities were being maltreated in Pakistan and the practice had reached its peak during the previous four years of incumbent regime. Reacting over the killing of a spiritual leader of minorities in Balochistan, Senator Heman Das said a continuous war against the community was on in Pakistan as forced marriages, rape of girls and forced migrations of the minorities were on the rise in Pakistan. "What message we want to convey to the world," he asked, adding, the number of migrants belonging to minorities were highest during the incumbent regime.  Senator Amerjeet, another minority member, said killers of the spiritual leader should be exposed while Senator Hari Ram said action should be taken against culprits for raping a 6-year-old minority girl in Umerkot and demolishing a Hindu temple. Awami National Party (ANP) staged a protest walkout from the House apparently over the non-cooperation of the Senate Secretariat and Chairman Senate in implementing the Standing Committee on Water and Power's direction to arrest Tabish Gohar, the CEO Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC).

Mr Khan said senate committee had issued arrest warrants against CEO KESC after he refused to appear before the parliamentary panel but Senate Secretariat hushed up the matter and they wanted to meet Chairman in this regard at 2 O' Clock. ANP lawmakers staged a protest walkout after the chairman said he would be busy at that time. The discussion on the issue started on a call attention notice given by Tahir Hussain Mashhadi that expressed concern on 18 paisas per unit raise in KESC electricity tariff by Nepra for the month of June.

 Mushaddai said raise was unjust and the company had already charged billions of rupees from consumers through inflated bills and that amount should be recovered.

Earlier, Zahid Khan criticising the publication of a recent report on tax evasion by MPs, demanded sacking of Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and its members for making public the classified information. "How someone got the data when relevant laws bar even parliamentarians from accessing the information," he added. Zahid demanded that taxes paid by judges, generals, media houses and TV anchors should also be made public. "Is it a sin to be a politician," he asked. He further said that Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh should clarify the situation in this regard.

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