ISLAMABAD: The Ghotki incident echoed in the National Assembly on Tuesday as most of the members expressed grave concerns over the safety of minorities in the country.
During the National Assembly session, chaired by Speaker Asad Qasier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khawaja Asif said,
“The Hindu community has a lot of concerns over the Ghotki incidents. It is our duty to provide security to the minorities against harassment. They are loyal Pakistanis.”
He said a clear message should be sent that their protection “is our duty and parliament will fulfill it”.
State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs M Ali Khan said, “All Pakistanis are equal in the eyes of the government.”
He vowed that the federal government would fulfil its responsibility, saying securing rights and ensuring safety of the people of Pakistan was the state’s responsibility, “though the Ghotki lies within the Sindh government’s jurisdiction”.
MNA Jay Parkash said, “The teacher, accused of blasphemy, has been running the school for thirty years.”
Parkash condemned the attack on the temple, saying an FIR was registered on the accusation of a 14-year-old student.
He expressed concern over non-arrest of the people who attacked the temple and demanded that the ones nominated in the FIR be arrested. “Hindus deserve justice as they are true patriots,” he added.
MNA Ramesh Kumar demanded punishment for the ones who attacked the temple. “I am proud to be a Pakistani and Hindus are Pakistanis first,” said Kumar, adding that if the teacher was involved in the incident, he should be punished.
MNA Dr Darshan Punshi said, “The Hindu community is in grief over the incident. For two days, Hindus have been harassed and their temple was attacked as well.”
He thanked the Ulema for their support and termed the incident as conspiracy against Pakistan.
“Hindus will not leave Pakistan at any cost,” said Punshi, demanding introducing legislation for the protection of the Hindus.
MNA Lal Chand termed the incident a conspiracy against Pakistan.
“The things broken in the temple will be replaced, but if hearts break, they can never be healed,” said Chand.
MNA Mufti Abdul Shakoor said, “Islam does not allow attacking minorities as well as extremism.” Terming the incident “cruel”, he demanded providing security to the minorities.
Giving details of the government action, MNA Yousuf Talpur apprised the house that 18 of the 188 nominated in the FIR had been arrested while the rest would soon be arrested.
MNA Kesoo Das said, “The kidnapped Hindu women have not been traced yet.”
He demanded immediate arrest of the accused and legislation for protection of minorities. He thanked the Ulema and political parties for their support.
Speaker Qaiser said, “The whole nation stands with the Hindus. There is credible information that the Muslim community was awake all night for the protection of the Hindus.”
MNA Ramesh Lal termed the attack on temple a “disgrace”.
MNA Jamshed Thomas said the Christian community stood with the Hindus in “this hour of grief”.
Parliamentary Secretary Shaukat Ali Yousufzai informed the house that the situation had been controlled.
PPP leader Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said, “it is a sad incident. The whole nation condemns it. The Sindh government is taking stern action and the culprits will soon be punished.”