ISLAMABAD - Land allotment to former Army Chief General (r) Raheel Sharif currently serving as commander of Saudi Arabia-led Islamic military alliance was questioned in the Senate when a PPP lawmaker said that his repeated questions raised earlier over the issue still remained unanswered.

Senator Farhatullah Babar raised the question of land allotments to former army chiefs as post retirement benefit, saying that his repeated questions on the issue had not been answered.

He said Raheel Sharif was allotted 88 acres of land but the questions asked about the legality of it were never answered except for a terse statement that it had been done in accordance with the Constitution.

Speaking on an issue of public importance, he also said that on last Wednesday NAB arrested a senior civil servant in Lahore allegedly for illegal land transfers. A day earlier the NAB reopened a corruption reference against some retired army generals in a land transfer case that remained dormant for over a decade, he said. Earlier, the NAB had also taken action against officials of Sindh government on similar grounds.

Chairman Raza Rabbani however did not allow further discussion and asked the senator that he may raise the issue through question in the Senate.

Senator Babar then changed the subject and raised the issue of protest demonstrations in Swat against harassment and humiliation of people at security checkposts. He said protest demonstration erupted when commuting public particularly women, children and old people underwent harsh treatment at the check posts while waiting in long queues.

However, when some people protested they were arrested and terrorism cases registered against them. Real terrorists enjoyed state protection but innocent people of Swat were charged with terrorism merely for demanding self-respect, he said.

Farhatullah Babar demanded that terrorism cases be immediately withdrawn and the concerns of citizens be addressed.

Talking to the media, he said that self-confessed terrorist and killer of the children of Army Public School was enjoying state hospitality but the peaceful people of Swat were charged with terrorism. “What message we were conveying to the people of Swat,” he asked.

Separately, a question asked by Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini also remained unanswered during the question-hour which sought to know details of foreign visits undertaken by chief justices of the superior courts over the last five years. The question asked year-wise break up, duration and purpose of visit and expenditure incurred in each case.

Law Minister Chaudhry Mahmood Bashir Virk in his written reply disclosed that the reply of registrars of the Supreme Court and all of the high courts was awaited even after passage of many months. He said that many requests, through letters, from the law ministry were made but the reply was still awaited.

Online adds: The opposition staged a token walkout from the upper house over absence of ministers and unsatisfactory replies during question-hour.

Federal Minister for Power Owais Ahmed Khan Leghari tabled a motion before the house regarding further amendment in Distribution of Power Bills 1997- 2017. Chairman Rabbani said that quorum was not complete for legislation, how a bill could be approved neglecting quorum issue. “First complete the quorum and then table the agenda for legislation in the house,” he said. After this Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq and Owasi Leghari brought the senators in the house and completed the quorum.

The chairman asked Owais Leghari to table the bill for legislation in the house and he tabled it for debate.

Earlier, session of the house was chaired by Col (R) Tahir Hussain Mushadi. He expressed his annoyance over the incomplete replies of ministers during question-answer session and said that ministers should take the affairs of the house seriously and ensure their presence during the session. Bureaucracy was not serious. What government was doing? On this, Senator Ahmed Hassan said that rulers had become senseless as the ministers were not present in the house and announced to stage a symbolic walkout from the house. After this, all the members of joint opposition staged a walkout but later the treasury benches brought them back.

Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf during the session said that balloting was the only way for selection of pilgrims as the government did not receive any profit or interest on the amount collected for Haj.

Federal Minister for Housing Akram Khan Durrani said that NAB should take action against him if it found any evidence of corruption against Durrani. “Land for mosque in my ministry is not allotted on the base of sect. It is our policy that all the Muslims should offer prayers in one mosque.”

Later, the chairman adjourned the session of the house for indefinite period.