ISLAMABAD - A Senate panel yesterday asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to provide it details of reference sent by the Ministry of Interior to British government against MQM founder Altaf Hussain for further examination as to what kind of evidence it contained.

The direction of the Senate Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights came after the former law minister and PPP Senator Dr Babar Awan in its meeting raised some questions over the reference.

Ministry of Interior, the other say, had formally sent a reference to UK seeking action against Altaf Hussain for inciting people to violence in Pakistan through his anti-Pakistan speeches.

The committee met under the chair of Senator Javed Abbasi here at the Parliament House.

The committee also recommended the government to proceed against Altaf Hussain on charges of high treason under article 6 of the Constitution for inciting people to violence. The meeting observed that strict action should be taken against those who made anti-Pakistan remarks and recommended to register high treason case against Altaf Hussain.

“Whether the Ministry of Law and Justice vetted the reference against Altaf Hussain sent by Interior Ministry to UK government,” questioned Dr Babar Awan during the meeting. The intra states agreements and amendments are done through the Ministry of Law and Justice, he said. He also asked that the committee should also be informed whether the federal cabinet duly approved this reference? Is there any plan to file a reference with the Supreme Court and the National Assembly Speaker against MQM? he said.

The committee decided to defer the Constitution (Amendment) Bill moved by Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja that relates to promotion of regional languages.

Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights Zahid Hamid gave detailed briefing about Articles 28 and 251 of the Constitution, which dealt with the languages. It was told that in order to work for preservation and promotion of any regional language of Pakistan, provincial assemblies were the relevant forums.

Senator Babar Awan pointed out that naming a few languages in the amendment and leaving others would further complicate the problem. It was agreed that while it is the state’s obligation to achieve the objectives for doing the same, the mechanism has to be seen in detail and hence the matter shouldn’t be dealt in urgency. The committee agreed to defer the agenda till its next meeting to come up with appropriate suggestions for the constitutional amendment.

The chair observed that committees were mini-parliaments and no legislation should go on personal likes and dislikes of one or more members.

The meeting also adopted the finalised report of committee on proposed amendments in Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority Act, 1996.

It was told that although the law ministry had informally vetted the amendment bill, the same has to be owned by the parent ministry, which in this case was the Ministry of Science and technology.

The secretary science and technology told the committee that the bill would be sent to the cabinet for final approval after its formal vetting by the law division. The committee directed the ministry to send a progress report next month and also requested the cabinet to take the matter urgently. Senator Saeed Ghani, Ayesha Raza, Karim Ahmed Khawaja, Muhammad Ali Saif, Zahida Khan, Nehal Hashmi and other senior officials attended the meeting besides former law minister as well as chairman Senate Farooq H. Naek.