ISLAMABAD - The opposition in the Senate on Monday demanded immediate arrest of former focal person of Prime Minister for polio eradication Babar bin Atta while holding him responsible for the resurgence of type-2 poliovirus in the country.

Speaking in the house on the deferred motion to discuss the WHO report on the rise of polio cases in Pakistan, PPP Senator Quratulain Marri said that polio is not just a disease but a way of life. “It will change the way you live,” she said adding that they only took polio as a disease but it is more serious than a disease.

Senator Marri pointed out that the PTI government decided to appoint a social media manager Babar bin Atta as PM Imran Khan’s focal person for polio eradication in October 2018. “His only claim to say was that he was looking into the social media affairs of a close aide to PM who is now in the headlines for sugar, and what crisis,” she said while indirectly giving a reference to PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen.

“Even WHO technical advisory group in its report has said that Pakistan polio programme is in a failing trajectory,” Senator Marri said.

“Why a case has not been registered against,” she questioned. She said that a person plays with the future of country and he is sitting at home comfortably. “It’s criminal negligence that a man deserves to be behind the bars.”

PML-N Senator Asif Karmani endorsed the demand of Senator Marri and demanded his immediate arrest.

In October last year, Mr Atta had resigned from his post citing personal reasons.

The house also unanimously passed a resolution moved by PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed.

“Senate of Pakistan passes unanimously resolution expressing full solidarity and support to China in combating Coronavirus,” reads the resolution. It acclaimed “strong leadership of President Xi Jinping in leading the very successful operation to combat Coronavirus.”

The resolution expressed its appreciation to government of China for treating Pakistani citizens, especially students in Wuhan just like their own citizens, providing them protection and comfort.

“The Senate extends full cooperation to Chinese brethren in this difficult moment of the Coronavirus crisis.

The Pakistan Senate is the first Parliament in the world to express such solidarity and support to China in this crisis,” says the resolution.

While laying the Torture, Custodial Death and Custodial Sexual Violence (Prevention and Punishment) Bill in the house, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Senator Sherry Rehman said, “In the recent one or two years, we have increasingly witnessed cases of police torturing those in their custody. Their treatment has been so barbaric that it has resulted in the death of many victims.”

With this bill, we have sought to define torture and acts that constitute torture including custodial death and custodial sexual violence, she concluded.

The house unanimously adopted a resolution moved by Senator A. Rehman Malik that called upon the government to move a resolution in UNSC asking for fixing the date of plebiscite for self-determination in Jammu and Kashmir.