ISLAMABAD - The Upper House of the Parliament Tuesday through a unanimous resolution condemned in strongest terms the outrageous act of burning of the Holy Quran by the NATO forces in Afghanistan and called upon the UN and the international community to take effective action against those responsible for this heinous and blasphemous act.

Leader of the House Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari moved the resolution on the disgraceful and shameful incident that took place at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan on February 21.

The resolution says, “This house unanimously resolves that the Government of Pakistan and all Muslim countries should demand that the Government of USA and other relevant governments of NATO countries to identify and punish those guilty of this crime.”

Meanwhile, the outgoing senators from PML-Q sitting on the opposition benches staged a walkout over the rejection of leave application of former chief minister and member provincial assembly Arbab Ghulam Rahim by the Sindh Assembly.

Senators, including Mohammad Ali Durrani and Javed Ali Shah of PML-Q and Gulshan Saeed and Ghaffar Qureshi of PML-Likeminded staged a token walkout from the house when Senator Salim Saifullah raised the issue in his farewell speech. Saifullah said the move was against the parliamentary norms and a political victimisation, adding that it was a common parliamentary practice to grant leave to any member on his request.

Senator Qureshi endorsed Saifullah and said there were many members of the Senate from the ruling PPP who never turned up in the house.

Chief Whip in the Senate Islamuddin Sheikh told the house that the government would talk to the provincial government of Sindh on the issue.

Later on, the senators, majority of whom were those whose six-year term is going to an end on March 11, made farewell speeches on their performance as well as of the house during their tenure.

The legislators lauded the services of Farooq H Naek and Jan Mohammad Jamali during their stint as the chairman and deputy chairman for running the business of the house smoothly. They termed the passage of 18, 19th and 20th amendments as the landmark legislations and said these would always be remembered in the parliamentary history of Pakistan. But some senators admitted that they had failed to resolve the problems of the masses and said people were facing education and health problems in the country. They also urged the government to resolve problems of Balochistan. Some deplored that the recommendations of the house were never implemented.

Some retiring senators from Fata brought the attention of the chair towards miserable conditions of the people in the region, as they were maltreated by the government functionaries due to the absence of Constitution of Pakistan there. The Fata senators also raised the issue of missing persons and drone attacks.

The Senate session was held for the first time after the instatement of fully operational new audio-video sound system in the hall.

The chairman told the house that the Senate was the first constitutional body in the history of Pakistan where the audio-video system along with two video TV screens had been installed.

Farooq H Naek gave a vague hint that perhaps he would not continue as Senate chairman when he said he tried to complete many pending tasks in the Senate and would leaving the pending ones to his successors.

Senator Seemen expressed disappointment, saying they could not fulfil the demands of the people and the House always worked more as a debating club. She pointed out that a federal secretary had misbehaved with her recently just days before her retirement. She said the recently issued notification by the government regarding the perks and privileges of the retiring senators should be circulated to the all federal secretaries to avoid similar situation in future.

Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar made a very impressive speech reminding the chair that the house did not allow her to pass resolutions for the restoration of judges and to condemn the killing of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer. She appreciated the efforts for passing many pro-women legislations.

Dr Abdul Malik in a light manner criticised Interior Minister Rehman Malik for making false promises regularly and requested the ECP to take notice of horse-trading in recent Senate elections.

Begum Gulshan Saeed criticised the opposition and said it remained a B-team of the government during last four years.

Abdul Khalique Pirzada made a humorous speech that forced all the House members to laugh. He said though he was a religious scholar and a writer of more than hundred books yet he remained unable to understand politics and legislative business during his tenure of six years and was leaving the house empty handed.

But Javed Ali Shah opted to be serious and congratulated the house for completing its six-year term, saying the practice would strengthen democracy in the country.

He said military rulers everywhere in the world caused uncertainty and adoption of double standards in the society. “The society forms when institutions are strengthened, which reinforced due to democracy,” he said, adding that some dictators initiated development projects during their regimes but unfortunately institutions could never grow during military regimes in Pakistan.

Rehman Malik announced to issue lifetime blue passport and prohibited-bore arm licence to all retiring senators.

As many as eight reports of different committees were also presented before the house. The outgoing legislators will continue their speeches today when the house will meet again at 10 am.