Women’s detention: Balohistan MNA stages token walkout from NA

Published: November 3, 2017
National Assembly. PHOTO: APP/FILE

National Assembly. PHOTO: APP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The issue of alleged detention of a few female relatives of a Baloch separatist echoed in the National Assembly on Friday with many legislators – both from the treasury and opposition benches – strongly criticising the authorities.

Syed Essa Noori of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) raised the issue on a point of order. He said the women who were relatives of a person belonging to a banned organisation were held in Quetta. He added that being related to an outlaw “is no justification for making someone disappear”.

The BNP leader asked the government where the sanctity of one’s privacy was. “Our honour is not safe. How long would we be facing such things which are neither allowed in Islam nor in humanity… or even the in law?” he said. Noori also staged a token walkout in protest.

Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP) supported Noori’s viewpoint and termed the arrest of women from Quetta severe injustice. He asked the government to intervene, saying that being a relative to someone was not a crime.

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Abdul Hakeem Baloch of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) also criticised the government for not reacting to the issue. “This is a very important issue,” he said. “These women, irrespective of their relation with any family, deserve respect,” he added.

Begum Tehmina Doltana of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) told the house that Dr Allah Nazar did wrong but they picked three of his female relatives. “You can’t do it and we strongly protest against it,” she added.

PPP’s Nawab Yousaf Talpur raised the issue of water shortage, specifically in Sindh. He said distribution of water among the provinces should be made under the 1991 water accord and the subsoil water should also be included in the distribution pool. He also asked for increasing Sindh’s water share.

Rasheed Godail of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) called for the construction of small dams in the country to overcome water and electricity shortages in the country.

Hakeem Baloch said that the agriculture of Sindh suffered badly because of the water shortage. He demanded construction of a separate Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway. The current motorway was constructed on Super Highway, he said, adding that new roads were constructed for Islamabad-Lahore Motorway while GT Road remained functional “which is not the case with the motorway in Sindh”.

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker Lal Chand Malhi raised the issue of kidnapping of a woman from Umarkot two days before Dewali. He said seven people kidnapped her and raped her. He asked the Ministry of Human Rights to conduct an inquiry and present its findings in the house.

Malhi also demanded increase in the number of seats for minorities for the National Assembly “which remains the same since 2002”.

On yet another point of order, PML-N’s Tehmina Daultana said the family of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was suffering against the backdrop of the Panama papers case. “There is a state within the state. Let there be one state. If the family of Nawaz Sharif is not spared then whose family should be spared,” she observed.

The National Assembly did not take up more than two-thirds of its scheduled business, including a constitutional amendment bill for reallocation of seats among provinces. Speaker Ayaz Sadiq presided over the sitting for 35 minutes while Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi chaired the rest of the proceedings.

Earlier during the Question Hour, the house was informed that the government was working on an energy plan to produce electricity keeping in view the future needs of the country. Power Minister Awais Leghari said the government had made big investments to improve the electricity transmission system.

The minister said a number of renewable energy projects were at various stages of completion. The solar and wind projects would add 626 megawatts of electricity to the national grid by November next year, he added.

Parliamentary Secretary Shahzadi Umarzadi told the house that multilateral and unilateral sanctions on Iran impeded the progress on the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, but the government remained committed to implementing the project. He assured the house that gas supply situation in winter this year would be far better than in the previous years.

Earlier, the National Assembly observed one-minute silence to pay homage to Dina Wadia, the daughter of the Quaid-e-Azam, who passed away on Thursday.

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