Islamabad [Pakistan], May 23 (ANI): Pakistan Senate panel that is investigating spy camera incident is yet to hold its first meeting six weeks after its formation.
A parliamentary committee was constituted to investigate the discovery of spy cameras from inside the Senate hall, which had been declared a polling station for the election of the Senate Chairman and Deputy Chairman, reported The News International.
When contacted, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), who is a member of the forum, told that a notification was issued for the selection of its Chairman but even that meeting was postponed citing the excuse that the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow it.
He said the matter would be taken up with the Senate Secretary on Monday to press for the early convening of the meeting. "They did not want any sort of investigation into the matter to reach any conclusions," he said.
Dr Sikandar Mandhro of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), who is also a member of the body, told this correspondent that even the inaugural meeting of the panel was not allowed to be held for unexplained reasons.
He said there was still not even a schedule of the first session of the committee as no information to the effect has been received from the Senate Secretariat, reported The News International.
"This speaks of the seriousness of the investigation into a grave matter," Dr Mandhro said. "The committee had been established on the forceful demand of the opposition parties, which had detected the spy cameras."
According to the Senate Secretariat's formal announcement that had constituted the committee, the forum was required to present its report "within one month from the date of the notification."
On March 12 when the polling to elect the new Chairman and Deputy Chairman was about to start, PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N member Musaddiq Malik had discovered cameras installed inside the hall and the polling booth.
The opposition had strongly protested and also questioned the posting of the chief security officer at the Senate Secretariat on a contract basis merely a day before these elections, reported The News International.
The seven-member committee comprises Dr Mandhro, Senator Hidayatullah (Independent), Federal Minister Senator Azam Swati from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), PML-N member Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Sarfraz Bugti of the Balochistan National Party (BAP) and Senator Talha Mahmood belonging to the Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F). Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services Executive Director Mohammad Anwar was also inducted in the panel.
At the time, Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and Musaddiq Malik had shared photos of the hidden cameras on their Twitter accounts. A 'pinhole' camera had also been found inside the polling booth. They had been directed by their parties to check the polling booth before the election of the Senate chairman and deputy chairman. They claimed that there was a lamp inside the polling booth with 'holes' in it and there were many microphones and cameras in it.
According to The News International, the opposition parties had demanded parliamentary investigations into the incident, terming it a serious breach of parliament and an effort to manipulate the electoral process. They had also called for a forensic probe into the installation of the spy cameras. (ANI)