Khursheed Shah demands Dasti’s presence in NA for budget session


Opposition leader Khurshid Shah, on Saturday, requested that Speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq issue a production order for Pakistan Awami Raj Chairman Jamshed Dasti in order for him to to be able to attend the budget session in spite of his arrest.

In a letter addressed to the speaker Shah said that Dasti, who was arrested earlier this week in Muzzafargarh for his role in ‘instigating’ people to open a sluice gate at the Kalu headworks canal, had the right to be present for the budget debate.

In his letter, Shah accused the government of using ‘dirty tactics’ under pressure from the ongoing Panama Papers investigation.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi echoed Shah’s concerns, echoing that the government seemed to be under extreme pressure from the Panamagate investigation and accusing it of stooping to ‘unfair means’ to pressurise the opponents.

While speaking to media outside Central Jail, where he had gone to visit Dasti, Qureshi termed Dasti’s arrest as the government’s ‘revenge’ and alleged that when Dasti “recorded his protest along with the rest of the opposition during the presidential address, a government minister had threatened him with consequences.”

Qureshi claimed that government was trying to run from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and expressed his concern for JIT members’ safety.

The PTI leader said he will try to procure the NA speaker’s signature on Shah’s letter requesting production orders for Dasti.

Earlier, Dasti had defended his actions saying that he was only facilitating farmers who had no water for their crops.

Pakistan Awami Raj General Secretary Rana Mahboob Akhtar had condemned the arrest of the party president and alleged that the Punjab government was victimising Dasti fearing defeat in the next general elections.

He said the illegal arrest had only made the MNA a hero, because he had opened the channel of the headworks only for small farmers and not for his own farms.

On Friday, dozens of people had protested against the Punjab government and demanded Dasti’s release.

He had been picked up on Wednesday with Shah Jamal Union Council Chairman Ajmal Kalro after Karamdad Qureshi Police registered a case against him under Sections 353, 430, 148, 149 and 186 of the Pakistan Penal Code on an application filed by the Kot Addu irrigation sub-division officer.

Irrigation Executive Engineer Mehr Riaz Akhtar said Dasti had forcibly released the water into the Dinga canal which was closed under a rotational programme because of the shortage of water in the Muzaffargarh canal.

He said his staff informed Dasti about the situation but he threatened them with consequences. He said now the water had been released into the minor canal.