A grief-struck lower house of parliament on Wednesday echoed in unison with prayers for the well-being of the 14-year-old child rights activist – who was attacked by the Taliban on Tuesday – and passed a unanimous resolution condemning the dastardly assault with a demand for the government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“This house pays tribute to and is proud of Malala Yousafzai. We strongly condemn the attack on her and demand that the government bear the medical expenses (of the injured in the incident), arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” a resolution presented by Law Minister Farooq H Naek read.
“Today I feel really sad, and the attack on Yousafzai is actually a crime against humanity,” the law minister said as he invited everyone to sit together and map out a solution.
The proceedings of the National Assembly started with prayers for the 14-year-old iconic child activist after which members from all political shades expressed their views.
Condemning the attack, lawmakers censured law enforcement agencies and termed Tuesday’s incident proof of their “failure” to contain the law and order situation. They also urged religious scholars and leaders to play their role and issue condemnations of the heinous act.
“We do not need mere legislation. We want safety of our people,” said Waseem Akhtar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) while asking Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to take action against the terrorists involved.
MQM’s Khushbakht Shujaat said it was the failure of law enforcement agencies and “was an attack against Islam”. She urged religious scholars to pass resolutions of condemnation and tell the world that terrorists were actually enemies of Islam.
Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said “we have to fight against this mindset” which, according to her, was the only hope.
Bushra Rehman, a renowned literary figure, condemned the incident in a sombre and trembling voice and asked: “Why was Malala not given security after she was honoured with the national award… were the authorities waiting for this incident to happen?”
Though Maulana Attaur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) condemned the incident and held the rulers responsible, he added: “Those who were behind such activities (terrorists) should not be cut off. They should be invited for talks otherwise there would be no end [to this].”
The statement prompted Ayaz Amir of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) to question whether there was any room for talks. “With whom should we initiate dialogue?” he asked, urging religious scholars to guide the nation and tell whether Islam sanctions such acts.
He also censured Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s rally to South Waziristan saying: “Khan had given US policymakers a justification for continuation of drone attacks” since his rally’s halfway return proved that writ of the government was non-existent in the region.
Awami National Party’s (ANP) Advocate Parvez Khan said: “We, the ANP, are a secular party, and strongly condemn the attack.”
Protection for Gilani
Meanwhile, giving a blanket cover to former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s decisions, the house passed a resolution to extend the Validation Ordinance, 2012 (No.VI of 2012) for a period of another 120 days amid protests and rejection from the PML-N.
However, the resolution was passed and it gave a new life to the ordinance that was lying with the relevant standing committee for consideration. The ordinance would expire on October 23 but after the passage of resolution, it will remain in force for another three months.
“All actions of former premier Gilani, who was removed by the Supreme Court, have been given a blanket cover,” former law minister Zahid Hamid of the PML-N said. However, he pointed out that “the house cannot pass any such resolution unless a list of those actions (of PM Gilani) is presented”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 11th, 2012.
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