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ISLAMABAD: The opposition lawmakers in National Assembly on Friday demanded the government present to them the copy of the agreement that it made with now defunct Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) with regard to expulsion of the French envoy from the country.

The TLP claims the government had agreed to bring a resolution in parliament to expel the French ambassador for publication of sacrilegious caricatures in France.

State minister for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said there is ‘no second opinion about love for Prophethood’, but action was taken when they took the law into their hands.

“We made all the efforts to hold talks with them [TLP] like PML-N and PPP governments did. We also engaged them through talks in their two previous sit-ins, but this time around, they wanted to dictate the state, which is not acceptable,” he added.

He said an agreement was made with TLP to present their demands in parliament. During the negotiation process, he added, TLP on April 20 gave a call to people to take to the streets, which was unfair.

Khan said that no religion or constitution allows violence against people and writ of the government would be maintained through strict action against those trying to create chaos.

Responding to points of order raised in National Assembly by lawmakers from both religious and other political parties, he said: “We believe in the finality of Prophethood and our objective is to follow the teachings of Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and preach his message to whole humanity”.

He said that no one can be allowed to misguide people in the name of religion and the government would ensure law and order in the country.

Khan said normalcy returned and all the roads have been also opened. He said neither the religion nor the constitution allows attacks on the police personnel.

The state minister recalled that both the houses of the parliament passed unanimous resolutions, condemning the publication of blasphemous material in France.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue strongly at every world forum while he also wrote letters to heads of all Islamic countries to have a dialogue with West,” he added.

The opposition members also expressed their displeasure over the absence of interior minister in the house. The NA speaker said that he should ensure his presence in the house. Khan assured the House that the interior minister would certainly take the House into confidence on Monday.

Syed Imran Ahmad Shah of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said there should be no compromise on the sanctity of the Prophethood, adding that the expulsion of French ambassador might have economic repercussions.

“We’re ready to face that economic loss and sanctions…we’re ready to compensate the government by selling our properties, but there should be no compromise when it’s the matter of Prophethood,” he maintained.

Mohsin Dawar of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) said that the agreement which the government – whether incumbent or the previous – should be presented before the house.

Later, the Regulation of Generation, Transmission and Distribution of Electric Power (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 was laid before the house.

Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan laid the ordinance before National Assembly as required by clause (2) of Article 89 of the Constitution. He said it was same ordinance which was passed by the standing committee.

Responding to a calling attention notice raised by Gul Dad Khan and others regarding closure of Nawa Pass and Gorsal border points, the parliamentary secretary for interior Shaukat Ali said that currently Pakistan has only six notified borders with Afghanistan for trade and business activities.

He said that these notified borders were Torkham, Chaman, Badini, Angur Ada, Ghulam Khan and Kharlachi, adding that Nawa Pass and Gorsal located in Bajawar and Mohmand, respectively, were not notified for trade and business activities.

Both the points were closed in 2007 and 2009, respectively, due to security reasons, he said, adding that a border management committee decides the opening of any point but it requires a complete procedure. This procedure is carried out through proper consultations with the Afghan government, he added.

The movers of the calling-attention notice emphasized the need for enhancing trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, adding that more crossing points should be opened between the two countries to achieve the objective of higher trade.

Later, the speaker referred the matter to the standing committee on State and Frontier Regions for detailed deliberations.

Riaz Pirzada – a PML-N MNA – said there is a need to discuss the address of the President to both the Houses of Parliament assembled together on August 20, 2020, adding this item is on agenda for more than two months.

Responding to various points raised by members belonging to minorities, the state minister for parliamentary affairs said that on the directives of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a parliamentary committee had been formed to guarantee the minorities’ rights as per constitution.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said a bill had been prepared against the forced conversions.

PPP leader Naveed Qamar said his party would fully support any bill that is aimed at protecting the rights of minorities.

Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Kesoo Mal Kheeal Das, Lal Chand, Ramesh Lal, Jamshid Thomas, Naveed Jeeva said people belonging to minorities were “forcefully” being converted to Islam in the country, particularly in Sindh. They said the police were also reluctant to register FIRs against such incidents.

Later, the speaker referred the matter to the concerned committee.

The House was adjourned to meet again on Monday at 2pm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021