'Pak MNAs drink liquor worth Rs50 mln annually'

ISLAMABAD: In a startling revelation an independent member of Pakistan's National Assembly Thursday accused fellow parliamentarians of adultery and using alcohol and banned drugs in their official residences.

Jamshed Dasti claimed that liquor worth Rs 40 to 50 million was annually supplied to the Parliament lodges.

The Parliament Lodges, a block of flats that houses scores of MPs, are frequented by "women of ill-repute", Dasti alleged and said alcohol and cannabis were used in the flats located near parliament, and the air around them always carries the stench of banned drugs.

In conservative Muslim country only non-Muslims are allowed to purchase and consume liquor.

Naeema Kashore, who was chairing the session in the absence of the Speaker, switched off Dasti's microphone and asked him to provide proof to back up his claims.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq later said Dasti should have raised these issues privately in his chamber instead of talking about them in the House.

Sadiq said Dasti should provide proof of these allegations. He added that if the allegations are true, action would be taken against the perpetrators. If the allegations are false, Ayzaz Sadiq said parliament would decide on Dasti’s punishment.

"I have video evidence and will hand over the same to the Speaker of the National Assembly to take action," Dasti told reporters.

Dasti, who hails from Punjab, challenged all parliamentarians to undergo a medical checkup to prove him wrong. He was supported by several lawmakers.

Nabeel Gabool, a lawmaker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, said Dasti's remarks were based on facts.

While talking to media, Gabol said that he also has found some unknown women in the parliament lodges during night hours.

When I contact the security guards they tell me it is a daily routine that some unknown women visits parliament lodges in night hours, he added.

Israrullah Zahri, a member of the Senate or upper house from the ruling PML-N, too backed Dasti's statements.

Dasti was elected as an independent member from Muzaffargarh district in southern Punjab in last year's general election.

In 2008, he was elected on a PPP ticket but later left the party, saying it was controlled by feudals and industrialists.

A self-styled voice of the underdog, Dasti is considered the poorest lawmaker in a parliament dominated by the elite. Dasti does not own a house or a car and travels with commoners in public transport vehicles.

In his annual income returns submitted to the Election Commission, Dasti said he has only a bank account where his salary as a parliamentarian is deposited, and this is his sole source of income.

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