Parliament split over prayers for Musharraf

Senate opp reminds parties of their former military patrons, NRO

Rizwan Ghilzai/Haseeb Hanif February 07, 2023
The issue turned into a heated debate when Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani called on Senator Mushtaq Ahmed to offer prayers for those affected by the deadly earthquake in Turkiye and Syria. PHOTO: FILE


The death of the former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Monday became a matter of political wrangling after lawmakers in both the houses of parliament dredged up the legacy of the military junta as a reason to refrain from offering supplication for the departed soul.

The National Assembly offered Fateha on the death of former president. Mohsin Dawar said that no one was ready to recite Fatiha but one person was made to agree to the prayers. If protocol was given to him, it would be clear that some people and institutions were above the Constitution, he added.

The senators bickered and hurled allegations against each other for supporting dictatorial regimes and violators of the Constitution when the issue of prayers for Musharraf came up.

The move of supplication was led by the Leader of the Opposition Senator Shehzad Wasim and supported by other members of his party.

It all started when Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmad refused to lead the invocation after he was asked to pray for the deceased along with those who were killed in the earthquake in Turkey.

"Mr Chairman, I will offer Fateha prayer for (the victims of) the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, not for Pervez Musharraf," said Senator Mushtaq Ahmed.

An uproar ensued in the House following the JI senator's remarks, as members from both of the government and opposition benches stood up from their seats. In the heated exchange, some members reminded Senator Mushtaq that his party had also once supported the military ruler.

Lashing out at those who refused to pray, Waseem pointed out it was ironic that those who had reaped benefits from the former president’s National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) now do not deign to even pray for him in his death.

“Both parties in the government took the NRO from Musharraf and he was fine at the time when they took the oath with black bands,” he recalled, criticising that the parties now had the audacity to preach about their democratic politics.

'Traitors being turned into hero'

The acerbic remarks from the senator drew a strong reaction from the treasury members who rose from their seats and began protesting.

PPP’s Maula Bux Chandio also supported those against a joint supplication for Musharraf as he bemoaned that those who violated the Constitution were now being turned into a hero.

He asserted that whoever abrogated the constitution was a traitor. “Why do they support those who break the constitution?” he wondered.

Senator Faisal Javed pointed out that the incumbent government was busy in imposing restrictions on the same media brought by Musharraf and denounced that journalists were being muzzled in the country.

At this, the chairman interjected and asked the senator to wrap up his speech, while adjourning the meeting till 11 am on Tuesday (today)

Similarly, in the National Assembly, drawing on the traditions, the house offered Fateha for the departed soul.

However, MNA Mohsin Dawar said that no one was ready to recite the prayer, adding that only one person was made to agree to offer the prayers. “If a protocol is given to him, it would be clear that some people and institutions were above the Constitution,” he added.

Shaikh Rohale Asghar, while referring to former president Musharraf, said that the house offered fateha for a convicted person, but a member of this house (Ali Wazir) even could not be called to the session. “You can judge the strength of this house from this.”

Later the house was adjourned till Thursday.


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