ISLAMABAD -  Opposition Leader in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah yesterday blasted the “flawed recovery system” of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Shah, who also heads the PAC, proposed drastic changes to the law for improvement in the PAC recovery mechanism.

“There is a need for restructuring... as mere eyewash ... is not enough to serve the real purpose,” he said while speaking on the PAC reports presented in the house.

The reports 1998-90 (referred to PAC 27, 2001), 2003-04 (referred to PAC 7, 2006, 2007-08 (referred to PAC on 15, 2009) were presented in the house.

Unlike Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for taking credit of PAC recoveries during the previous government tenure, the incumbent PAC chairman said although the accountability body has recovered Rs119 billion, it was a “natural recovery”.

“I am not taking credit of it. It was just a natural recovery...I propose criticism on these reports,” he said, asking the chair to also initiate a debate on it.

Shah said that Rs450 billions of the national exchequer could not be recovered due to the “flawed recovery system”. “A sum of Rs450 billion could not be recovered as cases are still pending in courts,” he said, criticising that how could an ordinary lawyer (on Rs2,000 per month) recover such a huge amount.

While talking about the PAC’s inability to recover the amount, he said that around 60 percent of the accused have died, 30 percent have retired and 10 percent have been promoted and posted somewhere. “It is difficult to work in this situation so a drastic amendment is required for this purpose,” he said.

Earlier, opposition lawmakers criticised the government for not maintaining the quorum in the house. Around 50 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were present in the house and the total strength decreased to mere 40 legislators present in the two last hours of the proceedings.

Although Shah and PPP’s Naveed Qamar did not point out quorum, they suggest the chair adjourn the house after taking only one agenda item.

The treasury members could only pass “The Pakistan Council for Science and Technology Bill, 2016” but it failed to present and pass “The Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Bill, 2016” due to the lack of the required strength.

“The media will carry stories after stories against the lawmakers pointing out that despite not having the required strength they went ahead with the dealings,” Shah said, pushing the government not go ahead with other legislations on the agenda.

Earlier, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab said that technically it was not possible to provide space for prayer in the Pakistan International Airlines Haj flights.

“Namaz can also be offered while sitting on seats. It is also not possible to remove some seats from the plane to specify a room for prayers,” the minister said while responding to a call-attention notice of some lawmakers about non-allocation of specific space for offering prayer in PIA Haj flights.