ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has approved the establishment of an ethics committee of the lower house to probe into the sexual harassment allegation hurled by former PTI leader and MNA Ayesha Gulalai against the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan.

It was revealed that the committee formed would consist of 20 members- 13 from treasury and seven from the opposition benches. These numbers however are not final and are susceptible to change. The committee is expected to be formed in a couple of days.

In a positive development, it was announced that the ethics committee would be made a permanent part of the National Assembly and would tackle cases like that of Ayesha Gulalai’s in the future.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Dr. Nafisa Shah took up the issue before the speaker that according to the Harassment of Women in the Workplace law, it was mandatory for all institutions to have an ethics committee to address sensitive issues of workplace harassment. This happened on Friday during a debate on the issue in the lower house and hence pointed out the need for the National Assembly to establish such an ethics committee.

She also criticized the stagnant state of the women’s parliamentary conclave and urged for its reactivation. Censuring the causas, she said, “The causus has never taken any action on such issues.”

This proposal was also approved by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi who demanded for a special committee for ethics to be formed. The House also passed a motion endorsing the idea of a formation of a committee for the investigation of Ayesha Gulalai’s allegations against Imran Khan.

After chairing his first cabinet meeting, the prime minister had made a statement on the floor of the house, “It is a matter of a sensitive nature, which should not be discussed on the roads. A committee should be formed to discuss the issue privately.”

The PM further said that Ayesha Gulalai and Imran Khan both were reputable members of the assembly and this issue was the matter of the house. He urged not to make it the talk of the streets and to settle it in the house.

PTI and PPP lauded the plan and accentuated that similar harassment cases such as the passing of derogatory remarks passed by Khawaja Asif against Dr Shireen Mazari last year, should also be probed by the committee.