Tuesday May 28, 2024

Israel enemy number one until Palestine, Masjid-e-Aqsa freed

By Mumtaz Alvi
August 18, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The government Monday told the Senate in categorical terms that Israel is and will remain Pakistan’s enemy number one until Palestine and Masjid-e-Aqsa were free, as the conflicting statements of foreign minister and human rights minister on Saudi Arabia echoed in the House.

The joint opposition staged a walkout from the House in protest against alleged high-handedness of the administration and the police during the appearance of Asif Ali Zardari in an accountability court earlier in the day.

PPP parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman raised the matter and registered a strong protest with the chair.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan made a policy statement in the House on Israel in response to PML-N senior leader Senator Mushahidullah Khan’s concerns, who called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Human Rights Minister Dr. Shireen Mazari to explain their statements. The PML-N legislator castigated the foreign minister for giving such a statement about Saudi Arabia for which the army chief and ISI chief had to visit Riyadh to clarify things.

He also noted that the Foreign Office policy statement was in contrast to Turkey, Iran and Malaysia regarding Israel and the crux of it was not at all good. “You will have to explain. Are you with the aggressor, Israel, which unleashes atrocities on Palestine and others or the oppressed? A PTI MNA had talked about recognizing Israel on the floor of the National Assembly and no action was taken against her. Why the ruling party has not taken action against her? This has never happened before, as we have a declared policy on Israel,” he said and demanded probe into it.

Ali Muhammad Khan asserted that governments would come and go but there would be no impact on the “brotherly and close” relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He asked the PkMAP Senator Usman Kakar why they never spoke against the India-sponsored BLA’s disruptive acts in Balochistan and its training camps in Afghanistan.

Kakar had also alleged that the government was leveling ground for recognition of Israel, which was the usurper of Palestine. Senator Sherry Rehman, on a matter of public importance, regretted how the federal capital was paralysed and was made a battleground in relation to ex-president Asif Zardari’s appearance before the accountability court with massive police deployment and barbed wire spread all around.

She complained that the party leaders and lawyers were barred from going to the court. She said amid the coronavirus pandemic, Asif Zardari was summoned, ignoring the request from his lawyers for a video link.

She condemned the NAB high-handedness and said Asif Ali Zardari was denied permission to record his statement in the NAB court via a video link despite his underlying health conditions and the risk of Covid-19.

“It is shocking that Islamabad was shut down and turned into a war-zone while police check posts were established at every corner. All roads to the NAB court were blocked for miles with barbed wires and armed riot police. The federal government clearly feels threatened by PPP,” she added.

On lawyers being refused entry in the courts, Senator Sherry Rehman said Zardari had requested everyone not to gather outside the NAB after seeing what had happened in Lahore.

“We were asked to only send in lawyers but even lawyers were not permitted to enter the court rooms today. This has never happened in the history of Pakistan. The PPP has always stood for accountability but the federal government has clearly been biased against its political opponents. Why is there a different standard of accountability?” she questioned.

She called for referring the matter to the House committee concerned and asking the NAB chairman to clarify this situation.

Senator Sherry asserted that neither the PPP leadership nor workers could be cowed down by such tactics, as the accountability process had become extremely controversial and world bodies were raising their voice against it. She also referred to the Human Rights Watch.

The NAB law, she added, had become a laughing stock. She continued there were two laws in Pakistan; one for PTI and another for the opposition for its political witch-hunt.

Responding to her, Leader of the House Dr. Shahzad Waseem said the arrangements were made to avert what he called the ransacking of NAB offices, which was witnessed three days back in Lahore.

He also denied the federal capital was shut down and added the accountability process would continue without discrimination being the NAB job. However, he added that if there was any objection, the government had already expressed its readiness for sorting it out.

Speaking on her motion, Senator Sherry Rehman pointed out that polio cases had reached a record 65 this year and questioned what were reasons for the increase in cases. The growing number of polio cases, she noted, was a matter of grave concern.

She noted one Babar bin Ata, who ran PTI’s election campaign on the social media, was been made in charge of polio campaign while international donors saw his actions and talked about corruption with regard to $10 million. But he was not held accountable for this.

The incumbent government, she alleged, had brought back polio virus type 2 and asked where was Babar Ata and why was he not in jail.

She asked would the government fix responsibility for alarming rise in polio cases in the country. She asserted the government could hide behind the coronavirus for rise in polio cases in the country.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad called for investigation against Babar Ata and that he was a national criminal. State Minister Ali Muhammad Khan said the government was going all out against poliovirus and already the trend was coming down.

The matter of Babar Ata, he noted, might be referred to the House committee concerned and the opposition might summon him and if he did not appear, the government would ensure his presence before the committee.

The House adopted the ATA Amendment Bill, 2020 amid chants of no from some small opposition parties. However, it took Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani over an hour to defer the trust act bill till Tuesday. While the opposition senators insisted on deferring the bill for a day so that Senator Farooq H Naek could submit an amendment to the bill, being so important.

Leader of the House and Minister for State urged the chair to put the bill for adoption after having been passed by the House committee concerned while Naek was assured that within weeks, amendments could be made part of it.

Senator Sherry said none in the opposition knew that supplementary agenda would also be taken up. JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed moved a resolution, which was unanimously adopted, which says, “This House Reiterates that Allah Almighty revealed the Holy Quran to His last Messenger, Hazrat Mohammad (SAW) which is the final word of ALLAH ALMIGHTY and a complete source of guidance for the mankind till the day of judgment;

Recognizes the fact that our young generation is facing a number of problems and challenges on ideological and moral fronts mainly due to lack of true understanding of the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah;

Shows concern on the fact that there is no proper system of the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah in the educational institutions in the country, which has created an ideological gap in the minds of our youth;

Considers it essential that the meaning and teachings of the Holy Quran should be taught in Urdu in all the universities under the administrative control of the Federal Government in the light of Articles 2, 31(2)(b) and 227 which provides for the Holy Quran and Sunnah to be the supreme law of the land and to promote their teachings in the country; and

Therefore, the House recommends and urges upon the government to make necessary arrangements for the teaching of the Holy Quran with Urdu translation in all the universities under the administrative control of the federal government in the country.”

The House adopted a resolution moved by the MQM Senator Khushbakhat Shujat, which states, “This House recommends to the government to make arrangements for First Aid and Civil Defence Training in the educational institutions under the administrative control of the federal government in order to enable the youth to cope with any kind of emergency/accident in efficient-manner and save loss of human life and property”.