In a pointless and bigoted move, the National Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution to change the name of the National Centre for Physics at the Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) from the Professor Abdus Salam Centre for Physics to al-Khazini Department, after Byzantine-origin astronomer Abu al-Fath Abd al-Rahman Mansur al-Khazini. The aim was not to honour Abu al-Khazini but to remove Professor Abdus Salaam, Pakistan’s first Nobel Laureate, from the honour. The resolution was moved by none other than Captain Safdar, who is notable for his marriage to Maryam Nawaz and occasionally spouting extremist rhetoric. The resolution was also supported by several parliamentarians from all parties, including the PTI and the PPP.
Needless to say, this resolution is detestable and condemnable and shows how Parliament would rather pass meaningless inflammatory resolutions than actually legislate. There is no goal to be achieved by such a resolution, and it is meant only to fan the bigotries of some segments of society. The centre to be renamed in the resolution is also misstated, showing the ineptitude of these ‘lawmakers’.
The sponsors belong to all parties, and it is the job of each party to denounce their members for this. Denunciation however seems unlikely from any party. Anti-Ahmadi hate sentiment seems like one crime for which there is no punishment. We have seen inflammatory hate speeches on the floor of Parliament before, and the likes of Captain Safdar going on to support a Supreme-Court ordained criminal, Mumtaz Qadri; yet these offenses are all too readily forgiven or ignored by their political parties.
The case of Captain Safdar makes it even more unlikely that we will hear a proper condemnation from the government. Captain Safdar has undermined party leadership at every turn, yet has never received a reprimand from the party. It is time for Maryam Nawaz to realise that nobody will take her passionate speeches on the sanctity of Parliament seriously, when her husband is making a joke out of the Parliament floor by trivialising the functions of Parliament to feed his own bigotries. It is high time for the PML(N) to rein in its black sheep before they destroy the party’s credibility.
At the end of it all, the whole Parliament is complicit, as it could not muster the courage to defeat the motion. Such inane actions may get some fleeting support for parties, but the effects of such hate-mongering are long-standing, as seen in Faizabad.