ISLAMABAD - The federal government on Monday in the Senate rejected claims of opposition parties that it was behind move to cancel citizenship of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader and ex-senator Hafiz Hamdullah.

Winding up discussion in the Senate on alleged political victimisation and cancellation of citizenship of a former lawmaker, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Azam Khan Swati said the government condemned this action and nobody in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet liked such move. After receiving a report from agencies that Hamdullah had got his computerized national identity card (CNIC) on the basis of fake documents,

the same was cancelled on October 11.

The minister said the PTI government was earning a bad name because of NAB actions. In an address, chairman of the bureau had said that he would not spare anyone found involved in corruption.

Malik proposes immunity against arrest until conviction for those who have held high portfolios

Swati said PTI leader Jehangir Tareen had been disqualified without any valid reason by the then Chief Justice Saqib Nisar who wanted to enhance his stature higher than that of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

He, however, said the verdict had been implemented in letter and spirit.

He also recalled that his party had taken a stern action against 20 of its lawmakers for selling out their votes in Senate elections in March 2018.

Earlier, taking part in the debate, former interior minister Rehman Malik proposed immunity against arrest to persons who have held highest portfolios including president, prime minister, chairman and deputy chairman Senate and speaker and deputy speaker of the National Assembly.

He said the investigations should continue but they should not be arrested until they are convicted by a court of law. He demanded immediate release of former president Asif Ali Zardari and removal of Mian Nawaz Sharif name from exit control list (ECL) on their deteriorated health condition. “There is a thin line between accountability and victimisation and victimisation brings hate and division among people and creates distrust upon the government,” he said and emphasized that there should be an end to political victimisation in the name of accountability.

He said arresting political opponents and continuing their trials discriminately was victimisation rather than accountability which was unacceptable to the opposition.

Senator Malik was of the view that necessary amendments should be made in laws concerning NAB and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Chairman Senate Interior Committee Senator Malik said that PPP and PML-N were being victimised but the government must realise that time would not stop here. PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan rejected government’s claim that it had nothing to do with cases against top opposition leaders.

“You were the complainant in Panama case against Nawaz Sharif,” he reminded PTI.  His party colleague Senator Pervez Rasheed said it was grave political victimisation that ailing former PM Nawaz Sharif was not being allowed to go abroad for his treatment for the last many days.