ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Tuesday categorically rejected the ethics committee approved by National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq to look into allegations of harassment against lawmakers, fearing that it could be used to victimise political opponents in the future.
A letter addressed to the speaker by PTI’s Shireen Mazari said that the party rejected the formation of a committee that would comprise parliamentarians, a majority of whom belong to the government benches, adding that a body involving the PTI’s political opponents has “no credibility”.
“Political opponents cannot be accusers, judge and jury,” reads the letter.
It said that the PTI stands by its commitment to a neutral inquiry into allegations of harassment levelled against Imran Khan by MNA Ayesha Gulalai and proposed that the parliament should appoint an independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards office as done by the British parliament.
According to Mazari’s letter, the office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards deals with the application of the code of conduct and related rules that apply to the members of parliament.
Sources privy to developments said that the committee to be formed in a couple of days would consist of 20 members — 13 from the treasury and seven from the opposition benches. However, the strength and composition of the committee will be open to changes.
According to sources, the committee would be a permanent feature of the National Assembly, and apart from Gulalai’s case, it would also take up other matters of such sensitive nature.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Monday had also opposed the formation of the proposed ethics committee. Calling it an “illogical move”, Khan had said that an independent panel should be formed to first ascertain whether such cases were genuine or not.
“You should follow the UK parliament, where a Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards is appointed as an independent person to judge cases like Gulalai’s to see whether they are genuine or not,” he said.