March 04 , 2017

Senate chairman seeks details about profiling of Pakhtuns in Punjab

Asks Centre to collect details from Punjab govt and submit in Upper House on Monday

ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani Friday asked the government to collect details about ‘profiling of Pakhtuns’ in Punjab from the provincial government and share it with the Upper House on Monday, as senators expressed deep concern over the issue.

The 260th session’s opening sitting was apparently adjourned before time by the Senate chairman in view of the government’s alleged lack of interest in running the House and absence of ministers.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq also agreed with the chair and Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan, who also cautioned against selective application of any law. “Any issue, which may push division in the nation, should be timely shared so that no misunderstanding could arise,” Zafarul Haq said.

The chair agreed with Senator Usman Kakar of the PkMAP that operation Raddul Fasaad was launched by the federal government but insisted that the step against Pakhtuns was started by the government of Punjab, therefore, the notice filed by seven senators did not constitute an adjournment motion as such. He said that if a precedent was set of a province, then this would set a trend and provincial matters would come up in the House this way. Rabbani asked Zafarul Haq to ensure that either the federal minister or the state minister for interior comes to the Senate Monday and shares related details after obtaining from the provincial government.

Senators Nisar Muhammad, Baz Muhammad Khan, Shahi Syed, Ilyas Bilour, Muhammad Daud Achakzai, Usman Kakar and Sardar Azam Musakhel had filed a notice for an adjournment motion for discussion on the actions taken by the government of Punjab and Punjab police against the Pakhtun community on the pretext of crackdown against terrorists.

Leader of the opposition fully supported the chair and emphasised that the matter was extremely important, as Pakhtuns, living in Punjab or doing business there, were being seen with apprehension. He called for desisting from giving any such impression and recalled that earlier, the issue of CNIC of Pakhtuns was raised.

He called for uniform application of the law without any discrimination whatsoever and insisted Pakhtuns were patriotic like other Pakistanis and that if there was evidence against anyone, which could be against Punjabi or any other Pakistani, it should be produced and the law be applied.

The chair did not allow PTI Senator Azam Swati to table a resolution, which the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly had recently adopted with regards to Pakhtuns in Punjab. Rabbani advised Senator Mian Ateeq Sheikh to wait for the investigation report into the Pakistan Super League (PSL) vis-a-vis alleged corruption issue and withdraw his notice for an adjournment motion, seeking discussion in the House on the causes and consequences of corruption scandals in Pakistan cricket, especially with respect to PSL.

The chair advised him to also opt for any other parliamentary instrument. The senator decried what he called conspiracies being hatched to stigmatise Pakistani cricket and players to bar world cricket from coming to Pakistan.

The minister concerned was not available when the chair allowed Senator Saleem Mandviwala to move a call attention notice about blocking of CNICs of Pakistani nationals, belonging to Fata, Balochistan and KP.

The House was informed that the state minister for interior was abroad while federal minister was in the Prime Minister House for a meeting, called by the prime minister. “But this is Parliament and indeed the issue is very important,” said Rabbani. However, he called for fixing the notice for Monday.

Mandviwala said that already his committee was deliberating upon the issue of census while the profiling of Pakhtuns in Punjab was quite disturbing and so was the methodology of doing it. He said the committee was told that so far 130 million CNICs were issued by Nadra, whereas presently it was probing one million CNICs.

“What does the government want to do by resisting the Nadra move of verification of CNICs, as the Army had already confirmed it,” the PPP senator wondered. By the time, Senator Sehar Kamran was on her feet to draw attention of the minister for Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) through a call attention notice, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad had left the House. “Where is the minister who has the brief on the notice,” asked the chair.

The chair said the notice was related to the CADD and the minister concerned was in Pakistan and added, “Enough is enough. The government is not serious in running the House.” He then adjourned the House till Monday afternoon.



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