ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution expressing its “deep concern” over the Middle Eastern crisis involving brotherly Muslim countries in the Gulf region, particularly Saudi Arab and Qatar.

The House, through the resolution moved by Law Minister Zahid Hamid, called upon all countries to show restraint and resolve all differences through dialogue.

“This House also called upon the (Pakistani) government to take concrete steps towards forging unity among the Muslim Ummah in accordance with the Parliament’s unanimous resolution of February 2015,” the resolution read.

At the start of the proceedings, the House offered Fateha for the victims of terrorist attacks in Iran. The Lower House also passed a separate resolution condemning terror attacks on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, the late leader of Iran revolution.

The House, through the resolution moved by Qaumi Watan Party chief Aftab Sherpao, expressed its solidarity with the people of the brotherly neighbour Iran. “The House reiterates its resolve to jointly combat the menace of terrorism in the region,” said the resolution.

The Senate also passed a similar resolution moved by PPP’s Kareem Ahmed Khwaja.

Apart from making speeches on the budget, the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle consumed half of the time on the Middle East crisis and the terrorist attacks in Iran.

Sherpao, before presenting the resolution, asked the government of Pakistan to play a proactive role to diffuse tension in the region. “The national security committee should also give a briefing to the parliament,” he said.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker Shireen Mazari also supported the idea of a briefing by the national security to the parliament. Pakistan needs to distance itself from the Saudi-led military alliance before completely examining all dimensions of the coalition and its terms of reference, she said.

PPP’s Naveed Qamar stressed the need to carefully watch the internal security in the current international scenario.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Sheikh Salahuddin also said that Pakistan should play a proactive role in the Middle Eastern crisis.

The members strongly condemned the terrorist attacks on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Khomeini. They said that the whole nation stands with their Iranian brethren in this hour of grief.

Other lawmakers said that all the Arab countries were equally important for Pakistan. Islamabad therefore needed to play a neutral role in the current scenario, they said.

Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid said that Pakistan seemed to be indecisive in the current scenario.

“If the attack could take place at the GHQ, Kamra, Karachi bases, then it can also take place here and anywhere,” he said while referring to an incident outside the parliament, wherein a man confronted him, demanding him to pay the sum he allegedly owed him.

“Who was in the aeroplane that landed here from Qatar,” he asked from Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar, who was present in the House. He said that there was a need to appoint a permanent foreign minister.

PkMAP chief Mehmood Khan Achakzai stressed the need to accept parliament as the pillar of power. “A uniform wearing person cannot run the foreign office,” he said.

The opposition lawmakers, after making speeches on the Middle East crisis and Iran attack, again boycotted the house proceedings.

“Sensing the delicacy of the current situation, we (opposition) participated in the proceedings but we cannot be part of the budget debate,” said Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah before leaving the House along with other opposition lawmakers.

The opposition has been on a boycott of the assembly proceedings for last few days as their demand for a live broadcast of budget speeches on PTV was not met by the government.

The government lawmakers, in the absence of the opposition lawmakers, delivered speeches on budgetary proposals and lauded the measures taken in the budget to provide relief to the masses.

PML-N MNA Tehmina Daultana lauded the budgetary proposals. She said that the PML-N has sacrificed for strengthening democracy in the country. “I am smelling an October 12 like conspiracy as opposition benches are empty,” she said. Other MNAs also spoke on the budgetary proposals at length.

NA urges ME states to show restraint

JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN