Sana comes under fire in NA over his remarks
ISLAMABAD: On a day of rage, the opposition PML-N came under an unforeseen pressure in parliament on Wednesday over life-threatening remarks by its Punjab’s law minister against PPP Senator Babar Awan, with one party official promising a “serious notice” to be taken of the outburst in Lahore.
As an apparent outrage at Tuesday’s televised remarks by the provincial law minister, Rana Sanaullah, and a journalists’ protest walkout from press galleries of both houses of parliament over another issue overshadowed the budget debate, PPP chief whip in the National Assembly
Khurshid Ahmed Shah said the PML-N would bear the “entire responsibility” of any harm coming to Mr Awan.
Mr Shah’s line seemed slightly different from a resolution adopted in the Senate afterwards that would hold the Punjab government, rather than the party, responsible for any consequence of Mr Sanaullah’s remarks that the former federal law and parliamentary affairs minister was “wajibul qatl” (deserving to be put to death) for his alleged political manipulations in the province.
Questioning the right of a politician to issue a “wajibul qatl” fatwa, Mr Shah said the provincial minister and his party’s leadership would be responsible for any consequences and added: “God forbid, if anything happens to the senator, the entire responsibility will be on that political party.”
PML-N member Saad Rafiq said the PPP chief whip was “very justified and correct” in saying that nobody had a right to issue such a fatwa and that anybody doing so “must be asked (about it) and taken notice of”. And he added: “I assure (the house) that our leadership will take a serious notice of this.”
Speaker Fehmida Mirza also commented on what she called a “condemnable statement” of Mr Sanaullah, recalling such actions in the past had led to “horrible incidents” like the assassinations in Islamabad of then Punjab governor Salman Taseer in January and Minorities Affairs Minister Shahbaz Bhatti in March.
The journalists walked out of the press galleries of both the National Assembly and Senate at the fag-end of their sittings as a mark of their dissatisfaction with the composition of a commission set up with a Federal Shariat Court judge at its head to probe the mysterious killing last month of one of their colleagues, Saleem Shahzad, before starting a sit-in outside the parliament house to press for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge to chair the body.
In the budget debate in the National Assembly, which will resume on Thursday, a PPP veteran and independent-minded lawmaker, Zafar Ali Shah, asked the government to take law and order ‘seriously’ and called for merit to be sole criterion for recruitment to government jobs and promotions.
Imtiaz Safdar Waraich, who is president of PPP’s Punjab chapter, invited some shouts of objection from PML-N benches after he blamed the Punjab government for what he called a 20 per cent increase in crime rate in the province and farmers’ inability to sell their wheat crop this year at government rates and for lack of packing sacks.