ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution to condemn the “brutal” killings of religious minorities and to reject all forms of discrimination against them in the country on the occasion of National Minorities Day.
The resolution, tabled by Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf, appreciated the pivotal role religious minorities were playing in the nation building and paid tribute to sacrifices and services rendered by them towards creation of safe and inclusive Pakistan.
It also reiterated the commitment to adhere to the principles laid down by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, laying the foundation for a tolerant and progressive Pakistan. It urged the government to take concrete steps to establish and maintain interfaith harmony in order to safeguard fundamental rights of minority communities as enshrined in the constitution. Later, PPP’s Shazia Marri, who first pointed out that August 11 was being observed as National Minorities Day and that she wanted to move the resolution but later agreed to the one tabled by the government, said that non-Muslims were feeling severe sense of insecurity in the country. She called for holding accountability of those committing crimes against non-Muslims. She said that lip service would not serve the purpose, as Pakistan did not belong to Muslims only but that I was also a country of non-Muslims living here.
The non-Muslim members of the house, including Khalil George, Aasiya Nasir and Sanjay Parwani, also objected to the usage of word “minorities” for non-Muslims and called for its removal.
Another non-Muslim member, Ramesh Lal, demanded that non-Muslims should be taught subjects relating to their religions; rather than Islamic Studies.
Earlier, lawmakers from both sides criticised the auditor general of Pakistan (AGP) for his refusal to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and sought an action from the speaker against the conduct of the auditor general. The house also adopted special report of PAC presented by PAC Chairman Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah on “Excess Salary and Privileges of the Auditor General of Pakistan in the light of the SRO 1074(1)/2007, dated 3rd October, 2007.”
Shah said that the AGP was given the opportunity to appear before the committee and give his point of view but that he refused to do so.
In his usual rhetoric, Mahmood Khan Ackakzai declared that parliament was supreme and that every institution of the country, including Armed Forces, were required to surrender before it. About AGP’s refusal to appear before the PAC, Achakzai urged that the AGP should be summoned before the parliament and that in case he refuses to do so, he should be sacked. Other members of the house across party divides also criticised the AGP and asked the speaker to take appropriate action against him.
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