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Sunday July 03, 2022

Crackdown on PTI leaders, workers debated in NA

Khawaja Asif apologized for the raid on the residence of Justice (retd) Nasira Javed Iqbal, saying that the government respected her

May 25, 2022
The inside view of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Photo: The News/File
The inside view of the National Assembly of Pakistan. Photo: The News/File

ISLAMABAD: The crackdown on PTI workers and leaders ahead of the PTI long march to Islamabad on Tuesday echoed in the National Assembly as the Grand Democratic Alliance, an ally of the PTI, raised the issue of raids while Defence Minister Khawaja Asif warned that no one would be allowed to challenge the writ of the state.

Asif apologized for the raid on the residence of Justice (retd) Nasira Javed Iqbal, saying that the government respected her. “Noor Alam Khan’s house was raided and did anyone condemn it?” he questioned. But, at the same time, he pointed out that there should be no selective condemnations as the opposition in the previous government faced more political victimization.

The issue of crackdown on PTI workers and leaders was raised by Dr Fehmida Mirza, who condemned the raids and said it seemed that "we did not learn from mistakes of the past". National Assembly Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani announced that the National Assembly Secretariat had received a letter from PTI members that Malik Ahmed Hussain Dahar had been made the parliamentary leader.

GDA MNA Saira Bano, through a point of order, demanded a ban on foreign visits of parliamentary delegations, which are given TA/DA in dollars. Jamaat-e-Islami MNA Maulana Akbar Chitrali raised the issue of Pakistanis’ visit to Israel and demanded an inquiry into it. NA Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani ordered investigations into the issue. Responding to Dr Fehmida Mirza, Khawaja Asif said: “Our workers were also caught after breaking into their homes and were tortured." He said the sanctity of the home should not be violated. "When bulldozers were being driven on us, no one's conscience had awakened," he said.

Dr Fehmida Mirza said it seemed that the government had gone back to the 1990s and was violating the sanctity of homes. “Today, those who mocked the establishment in the past tell us who overthrew the governments of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto?” she said.

Communications Minister Maulana Asad Mehmood said when the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan was presented, he was happy. He sent a message to the united opposition if it withdrew the motion, he would hold elections.

On a point of order, Noor Alam Khan raised the issue of a raid on his house and said threats were given to him, but no court took notice of it. “They attacked the residence of my aunt, who is 95,” he said.

The National Assembly on Tuesday referred a constitutional amendment bill to give the right to vote to overseas Pakistanis and two seats in the National Assembly and one each seat in all the four provincial assemblies to those who have only Pakistan passports to the standing committee concerned for consideration.

The private members bill was introduced by dissident PTI member Noor Alam Khan to amend Articles 51, 59 and 106 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan [the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2022].

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi did not oppose the bill. Another private members bill of Noor Alam Khan to repeal the Federal Medical Teaching Institutes Act 2021 [The Federal Medical Teaching Institutes (Repeal) Bill 2022] was sent to the standing committee concerned as the government did not oppose it. On the private members day, the bills introduced in the House included the Constitution Amendment Bill 2022 (Amendment to Article 84), the Employment of Children Amendment Bill 2022, the Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Amendment Bill 2022, the Criminal Laws Amendment Bill 2022, the Elections Amendment Bill 2022 and the Muslim Family Laws Amendment Bill 2022.

Meanwhile, the House passed the International Institute of Science, Arts and Technology Bill 2021. Earlier, Minister of State for Petroleum Mussadik Malik said: “We aim to provide subsidies to discovery companies for the exploration of natural gas as the shortfall has increased in the country." Speaking on a call attention notice regarding severe power outage, he said short-term plans were in place to deal with gas shortage in the Baldia area of Karachi.

Responding to another call attention notice of Maulana Akbar Chitrali regarding the stoppage of construction work on the Lowari tunnel,, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Murtaza Javed Abbasi said the Ministry of Planning and Development would be approached to get an update for the allocation of funds in the next budget for the completion of the remaining work on the tunnel.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the family of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik, who is being persecuted in a dubious case in India. The resolution, presented by Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, said the House condemned the abhorrent attempt of the Indian government to deprive the Kashmiri people of their true leadership.

The issue of passing of the resolution in solidarity with Yasin Malik was raised by GDA legislator Dr Fehmida Mirza on a point of order. The resolution said the Indian government should arrange a meeting of Yasin Malik with his spouse along with his 10-year-old daughter.

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