ISLAMABAD: Polarisation on religious issues again became visible at the highest level when lawmakers in Senate stood divided over the issue of offering fateha for a deceased person.
When Senator Abdul Khaliq Pirzada of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was asked to lead the prayers for the soul of the assassinated governor of Punjab, Salmaan Taseer, he flatly refused.
A parliamentarian later termed the incident an “abhorrent aberration” in the country’s parliamentary history.
The prayers were requested by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar of the PML-Q, who requested chairman Senate Farooq H Naek that the house should offer prayers for the late governor’s departed soul. She also urged the upper house of parliament to pass a resolution to condemn elements supporting Taseer’s killer.
Offering prayers for persons of national repute is a routine matter.
After the MQM lawmaker refused to lead the prayers, the Senate chairman himself led the prayers to avoid further controversy.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 29th, 2011.