ISLAMABAD: Minister for Labour and Manpower Syed Khurshid Shah on Tuesday suggested the formation of a parliamentary committee with equal representation from both the ruling coalition and opposition.
To probe into the charges of embezzlement in funds of the Employees Old Age Benefit Institution (EOBI).
Speaking on a point of order, the minister lashed out at Geo News anchor Kamran Khan who reported that the EOBI, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Labour and ManpowerWas engulfed by corruption as secret deals are being made for the purchase of real estate.
He said when an allegation is raised against any ministry, the concerned minister is termed responsible for any such activity in the office, adding that he is ready to disprove the allegations and also reserves the right to bring the media person to a court of law for filing what he termed a baseless story that, according to him, is aimed at tarnishing the image of the institution.
The minister wished the committee should be chaired by an opposition member and it should summon Kamran Khan to explain his position, adding that if the House gives such persons a shut-up call, no one would dare to malign the House in future.
He said it has been the tradition that conspiracies were always hatched against democratic institutions and some elements always tried to destabilise democracy, adding that no one has touched the dictators who abrogated the Constitution, introduced Kalashnikov culture, Talibanisation and dragged the country into the water and power crisis. He told the House that the EOBI has ensured recoveries worth Rs7.03 billion in 2008-09 against Rs5.8 billion during 2007-08, adding that 100 percent raise has also been witnessed in the registration of employees.
Khurshid Shah said that 37 per cent increase has also been made in the payment of pension. Besides, the EOBI earned 17 billion on its investment during the financial year 2008-09. EOBI is paying over Rs500 million to more than 280,000 pensioners every month through 550 authorised bank branches.
He said the EOBI has so far purchased all real estate from government entities. Commenting on the Centaurus project, he said the Pakistan Real Estate Investment and Management Company carried out a detailed feasibility exercise and found that the project was not feasible and the position was conveyed in November 2008.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief whip Sheikh Aftab endorsed Khurshid Shah’s point of view, saying that no dictator has been made accountable for his misdeeds and reiterated the party’s stance for Musharraf’s trial under Article 6 of the Constitution. He said democratic institutions have always been maligned by some circles but the dictators were never brought to the court of law for their anti-state steps and unconstitutional measures.