Friday March 31, 2023

‘Insult to minorities’: PMLN senator protests minister’s behaviour in conference

February 08, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was told Tuesday some 2,000 people had been killed in terror-related incidents in Balochistan during the last 10 years, whereas the ‘bloody Karachi-Chaman-Quetta highway’ claimed over 5,000 lives as it was not dualised despite pledges made several times.

Speaking on his calling attention notice, Balochistan Awami Party Senator Danesh Kumar sought the chairman Senate and other members’ support for dualisation of the highway. He explained allocations were reflected in PSDP for dualisation 12 times over the years, but it did not materialise.

He referred to the recent accident on the highway, N-25, which burnt to death 41 people and noted their identity was made possible through DNA test. He recalled ex-PM Imran Khan had also inaugurated its work, followed by then communication minister and minister planning. However, no progress was made.

Responding to his notice, State Minister for Law Senator Shahadat Awan said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took oath in April and in the the same month inaugurated the work on 790-kilometre highway, and presently dualisation was under way on its first section. He conceded the highway, which runs from Karachi to Afghanistan, and then one road (diversion), leads to Iran border as well, witnesses massive rush round-the-clock and was very important. The dualisation would be completed to ensure safe and smooth flow of traffic, he said.

Speaking on a point of public importance, PMLN Senator Kamran Michael agitated on the alleged insult meted out to the representatives of different religions at a recent meeting organised by the Ministry of Inter-Faith Harmony. He staged a token walkout from the House against the behaviour of its minister Mufti Abdul Shakoor. He was joined by some other members of the treasury and opposition benches, including those belonging to PMLN and PPP. Senator Kamran said the Ministry invited last week members of the minorities. Some diplomats also attended the meeting where various people delivered speeches and said, “All other religions had shortcomings and only one was superior.” “People boycotted it, and minorities’ representatives staged walkout from the event. The diplomats also walked away. This is an insult to other religions and a line was drawn among them. This is not the job of the State to create differences but to promote unity and amity among various religions. The ministry and the minister represent the State,” he added.

He said the minorities in the country are the true face of Pakistan abroad and had never transgressed the Constitution. But, such things do hurt them, and we condemn disgrace to the minorities.

Earlier, the opposition walked out of the House, when through head-count, the adjournment motion, filed by PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz on the state of national economy, was rejected at the admissibility stage.