If an MNA is arrested in Pakistan, the rule is that the Speaker of the National Assembly has the authority to tell the police or jail to produce them if the House of elected representatives is in session.
It appears, however, that the National Assembly Speaker, Asad Qaiser, cannot fully exercise his authority as the recent slew of arrests of MNAs has demonstrated.
On Wednesday, Speaker Asad Qaiser was asked why he could not issue production orders for Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, MNAs who were recently arrested. He had, after all, done it for Shehbaz Sharif and Khawaja Saad Rafique, both MNAs who were arrested in corruption cases.
It was a PPP delegation that brought this up when they had gone to him to ask him to issue a production order for former president Asif Ali Zardari, who is an MNA. They questioned him about MNAs Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir. The two men, leaders of the Pashtun Taffuz Movement, have been moved to Peshawar Central Jail after being remanded into custody in a case relating to a skirmish between protesters and the armed forces near the Kharqamar check-post in North Waziristan.
Speaker Asad Qaiser told the PPP delegation that he did not have the “ability” to do so. His exact words were, “Merey bas ki baat nahi he”.
The Speaker had assured the PPP leaders that Asif Zardari’s production order would be issued by next week. The PPP co-chairperson was arrested from his house in Islamabad’s F-8 after a high court rejected his bail in a money laundering case.