ISLAMABAD                  -            The opposition lawmakers in the Senate have demanded of the fed­eral government to place details of all foreign loans, aid and equip­ment, it is getting to ward off COVID-19, before the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for great­er transparency.

The lawmakers belonging to the major opposition parties, The Nation talked to, have urged the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) to activate the forum of CCI, a constitutional body that is man­dated to resolve disputes of pow­er sharing between the federation and the provinces, till the parlia­ment is unable to meet due to the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

The legislators have argued that the activation of CCI would en­able the provinces and the fed­eration for better distribution of funds, aid and equipment among them and to bring more trans­parency in the relief work during COVID-19 emergency response. They said that National Coordi­nation Committee already formed by the federal government for co­ordinated efforts to fight against the deadly disease couldn’t be a replacement of CCI.

The representatives of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the centre and Pakistan Peo­ple’s Party (PPP)’s Sindh govern­ment this week made contradic­tory claims on social media about the equipment received from Chi­na to fight against coronavirus. Their claims gave credence to the widely known belief that centre and the Sindh government aren’t on the same page when it comes to preventive measures and relief work for COVID-19 emergency re­sponse.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi told The Nation over phone that the Prime Min­ister Imran Khan should immedi­ately summon the meeting of CCI and place all the details of foreign loans, and foreign aid as well as equipment, the government is re­ceiving to tackle the deadly coro­navirus, before it.

“The forum will not only bring more transparency in the uti­lization of money but will also help the federal government to distribute funds and equip­ment among provinces fairly and on need basis,” he said. He said that the centre and the provinc­es should decide the modus ope­randi of emergency response in the CCI. “This is an extraordinary situation and the federal govern­ment should use an important fo­rum of CCI for its own benefit,” he added.

Former chairman Senate and PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabba­ni said that Prime Minister Im­ran Khan’s economic team had already approached the multilat­eral international creditors in­cluding International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for obtaining loans to ward off the impact of coronavirus on the country’s economy. “Besides this, there is and will be a steady flow of material and equipment from abroad.”

Senator Rabbani went on to say that incumbent government in the past had been shy in bringing financial agreements before par­liament and the people. There is need for great transparency while negotiating these agreements and in the utilization of the funds, ma­terial and equipment, he added.

“I’d urge that the CCI should meet once a week, till for the days parliament is unable to meet, where details pertaining to the agreements, disbursement of the funds, material and equipment should be placed before it for ap­proval,” he said adding that Na­tional Disaster Management Au­thority (NDMA) should submit a similar report to it.

The senator further viewed that the proceedings of the CCI, relat­ed to these matters, should be laid before the both the houses of the parliament under Article 153 of the Constitution when it comes into session