PML-Q senator wants media held accountable
By Muhammad Anis
ISLAMABAD: Members of the Senate on Thursday joined hands to vent their anger against electronic and print media and one of the senators said he was waiting for the day when the media would also be held accountable.
“I am waiting for the day when media will also be held accountable for their deeds and I will be after them with sticks,” PML-Q’s Senator Javed Ali Shah said during volley of points of order raised by various members while referring to media reports about details of assets and taxes paid by parliamentarians.
The issue was raised by Haji Ghulam Ali of JUI-F who said that a television channel aired a report in which it was mentioned that the prime minister, interior minister, some other ministers and parliamentarians were paying zero income tax. He said the television channels might have quoted the documents and details provided by Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He said how it could be possible that prime minister, cabinet members and parliamentarians were paying zero income tax. “Income tax is automatically deducted at source from their salaries,” he said.
Javed Ali Shah said the media had achieved freedom after a long time and it would take quite some time to put an end to their dictatorial attitude. “I am waiting for the time when they will also be held accountable for their deeds and I will be after them with sticks,” he said.
Javed Shah said the media should also project those politicians whose assets have reduced over the last few years. Senator Tariq Azim claimed that the parliamentarians were the only segment of citizens which are paying 100% income tax. Minister for Information Technology Azam Khan Swati said his salary goes to a charity organization while he is paying double tax, both in America and Pakistan.
Gul Muhammad Lot said he as a businessman was paying Rs10 million income tax annually and the ECP should be asked to correct its record. Haroon Akhtar said he was also paying annual income tax of over Rs1 million.
Senators Zahid Khan, Kulsum Parveen and Kazim Khan also objected to such media reports saying most of the citizens pay income tax and other taxes on their salaries on bills of utility services.
Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar also unleashed indirect criticism on media saying those who criticize parliamentarians should also think about themselves adding the government had exempted some services from taxation. She said the parliamentarians should not be apologetic and defensive on such allegations as all of them are taxpayers. She said the ECP should be asked to correct its record about details of assets of parliamentarians and taxes being paid by them.
Senator Prof Khurshid Ahmad said the house was not being run according to rules and regulations. He said no adjournment motion or calling attention notice have been included in the order of the day since the start of the ongoing session.
“I myself have submitted adjournment motions on issues like violation of Pakistan’s territorial boundaries, Dr Aafia Siddiqui and other matters,” he said.
Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek said he would look into the matter so that such practice is not repeated again.
Senator Col (R) Tahir Mashahid said no action had been taken against Chairman of Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Ejaz Butt despite the fact that standing committees of two houses have recommended maximum action against him.
He said that it was due to Ejaz Butt that Pakistan cricket had become a laughing stock in the cricketing world and fingers were being raised at Pakistani cricketers.
The Senate chairman deferred laying National Accountability (Amendment) Ordinance, 2010 (Ordinance No XVIII of 2010), as required by clause (2) of Article 89 of the Constitution.
Leader of the House Nayyar Bokhari prayed to the chair that after the passage of 18th Amendment the minister in charge for Law and Justice should lay the ordinance but he was not present in the house, therefore, the laying of the ordinance might be deferred.
They rejected a motion moved by Senator Col (R) Tahir Mashhadi, Chairman, Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges to condone the delay in presentation of report of the Committee on the privilege motion moved by Senator Muhammad Zahid Khan regarding wrong reply given to a question by the minister for defence in the Senate. Senator Humayun Khan questioned as to under which Act of the Parliament, the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was functioning and also demanded elections of PEC.
Minister for Information Technology on directions from the chair said he would submit a report in this regard on Friday (today).
Source: The News