ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said on Thursday that the treasury benches in Senate would bring a resolution in "condemnation of those who desecrated the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan," and came down hard on opposition parties for "playing politics over the matter instead of admitting the crime."
Speaking at the Senate session presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, the minister minced no words to take on both Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP), the two mainstream opposition parties, over the Mazar-e-Quaid desecration episode.
"Instead of focussing on the crime, they (opposition) are playing politics. This is extremely shameful and condemnable, to say the least," he said.
This party (PML-N) uses the name of Muslim League, a party that created Pakistan but it is so shameful that PML-N's so called leader Captain (r) Safdar-well I don't think he's a leader- or whatever he is by virtue of his kinship with Nawaz Sharif-is involved in such a detestable crime. He has disrespected the sanctity of mausoleum of none other than Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of this country, the father of this nation," he said.
"And now they are playing politics over the matter instead of admitting the crime."
Taking on the PPP and its Sindh government, the minister said "You are in power in Sindh where police is yours and you call the shots everywhere. Your beloved IGP (Inspector General of Police) is the head of police force there. Then why are you crying foul? If anything has happened, it has happened right under your watch. You better start taking responsibility for your actions."
The minister strongly opposed a resolution the opposition wanted to move in the house regarding Captain (r) Safdar's arrest, while announcing that the treasury benches would bring a resolution in "condemnation of those who desecrated the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan."
Earlier, speaking on the floor of the house, Leader of the Opposition in Senate and Chairman PML-N Raja Zafar-ul-Haq suggested to chairman Senate to refer the matter involving Safdar's arrest in Karachi to the committee concerned.
Following opposition's demand, the chair referred the matter to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior. But, on the insistence of the opposition, the chairman referred the matter to Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice. The PML-N wanted the matter to be referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice apparently because a PML-N leader (Barrister Javed Abbasi) heads this committee whereas Senate Standing Committee on Interior is headed by a PPP senator (Rehman Malik.)
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem also demanded that those who committed disrespect to Mazar-e-Quaid should be penalized as per law. "This is not a small thing, the mausoleum of the creator of Pakistan has been disrespected. If we let this shameful happening go unnoticed and pretend as if nothing has happened then it will encourage the troublemakers and this will become a trend-to disrespect the mausoleum. This crime should not be tolerated at any cost and the law should take its course," he said.
PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate Sherry Rehman asked chairman Senate to play his role in having this matter investigated thoroughly. "Let us not give this impression that Senate is a toothless house. Questions are being raised over your authority-that you cannot issue even a production order of a (detained) senator (against the will of the government), which, we think, is not the case. The Senate needs to play its role proactively in this matter," she said.
PPP leader and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani said the rules of business allow the chairman Senate to allow moving a resolution regarding the issue involving the arrest of Captain (r) Safdar.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan informed the Senate that a 'capping plan' was being implemented to reduce circular debt. Responding to a question during Question Hour at the upper house of the Parliament he said previous (PML-N) government did not increase tariff in the last two years of its tenure which resulted in a huge circular debt.
The government is taking steps to review pricing contracts with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), he said. The minister said the government will invest Rs 20 billion in Peshawar Electric Supply Company (PESCO) to reduce power shortage in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Answering another question, he said that there will be a gas shortage in the winter this year. Both companies- Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and Sui Sothern Gas Company (SSGC) Limited are dedicated to ensure smooth gas supply to all categories of consumers on their network with special priority to domestic consumers.
The minister said 20 new oil and gas exploration blocks have been auctioned which will enable Pakistan to discover new reserves. The house will meet again today (Friday) at 10:30 am.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2020