ISLAMABAD -  A parliamentary committee on Friday sought legal opinion on removal of Zafar Hijazi from the post of Chairman Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) after the registration of an FIR against him on the orders of Supreme Court.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance and Revenue asked the Ministry of Law to give their viewpoint that Chairman SECP could retain his office after the registration of FIR against him. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on the directives of Supreme Court lodged an FIR on last Monday against Chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi for tampering the record of the Sharif family’s companies. However, Hijazi has not left his office yet.

While raising the issue, PTI MNA Asad Umar said the finance ministry should at least place the SECP chairman on leave, as Hijazi is facing a criminal case. He further said that the State Bank of Pakistan is not giving details of Pakistanis who invested in Dubai. The government should take action against Panama papers nominees, which included names of a judge, businessmen and media persons, he added.

The committee also took notice of sharp increase in dollar against rupee last week and directed the SBP to present a detailed report on this issue in next meeting.

The committee also decided to summon a joint meeting of National Assembly standing committee on finance, commerce and textile to examine the reasons of continuous decline in country’s exports. The exports had come down to below $21 billion during last financial year despite the government had announced an incentive package worth of Rs180 billion to boost export. 

The committee considered the Microfinance Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2017 and directed to State Bank of Pakistan for properly advertisement of ongoing loaning schemes already launched by the government for disabled persons. The Committee further recommended to SBP for issuance of necessary directions to all banks for providing disclosure of loaning details to disabled persons on quarterly basis. The committee unanimously recommended that the Microfinance Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2017 may be passed by the Assembly as reported by the committee, introduced by MNA Sajida Begum. 

The committee considered the Investment Corporation of Pakistan (Repeal) Bill, 2017 and recommended that it may be passed by the National Assembly as reported by the Committee.

While considering the matter regarding difficulties being faced by the exporters, industrialists and stakeholders, the committee directed the chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and State Bank of Pakistan to sit with the President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce & Industries for resolving the problems of exporters.

The stakeholders of textile industries said that the government should restructure the loan to textile industry in lieu of the collateral provided by the stakeholders.

After detailed discussion, the committee decided that a joint meeting of the Standing Committees on Commerce, Textile and Finance & Revenue of the National Assembly would be called shortly in this regard. The committee unanimously recommended that concerned ministers should be requested to attend the said meeting. The Committee also discussed the issues regarding Pakistan Steel Melters Association and recommended to FBR to sit with them for resolving the problem facing by the Steel industry.     

The committee welcomed the chairman, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) on his posting and extended its well wishes. The committee also appreciated the role of Dr Muhammad Irshad Khan, former Chairman FBR.

The meeting was attended by Saeed Ahmed Khan Manais, Muhammad Tallal Chaudry, Mohsin Shah Nawaz Ranjha, Dr Shizra Mansab Ali Khan Kharral, Sheikh Fayyaz-ud-Din, Mian Abdul Mannan, Syed Naveed Qamar, Asad Umar, Abdul Rashid Godil and Sajida Begum, MNAs, besides the senior officers from Ministry of Finance & Revenue, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Industries & Production, Ministry of Law & Justice, FBR and SBP.