ISLAMABAD - Aitzaz Ahsan, leader of the opposition in the Senate, Friday criticised the PML-N government’s policy towards Taliban, saying the PML-N has soft policy towards Taliban and Interior Minister Ch Nisar Ali Khan seems busy shielding the extremists after every terrorist attack.

“The nation will have to finally stand up to terrorism and speak up against religious extremism to save Pakistan, which is being isolated internationally, and there is no time left,” said Ahsan at a seminar organised by human rights cell of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) here at a local hotel.

“Pakistan is being ostracised for polio, terrorism and extremism; there is no cricket, no investment, no tourists, and after the Karachi airport attack, further restrictions may follow,” he cautioned.  He also criticised the government for lacking clear strategy on terrorism. Ahsan said that Pakistani women are very talented and they have right to raise the voice for their rights. He mentioned that PPP always fights for the rights of women in and out the parliament. Slain former PM Benazir Bhutto also equally treated the women in the party meetings.

Romana Bashir, director Peace and Development Foundation, hinting at a provision in the 18th amendment asked why the constitutional and other offices were not open to other identities and religions when they were equally loyal and patriotic Pakistanis like any other. If Cecil Chaudhry can sacrifice his life for the country, why cannot those of his or other religions serve the nation on the highest offices. She also condemned a chief minister’s statement on sanitary workers, which was derogatory to Christians. Dr Nafisa Shah, central coordinator of the PPP Human Rights Cell, introducing the cell said the objective of the seminar was to discuss how progressive parties like the PPP and progressive civil society, which had ceded space to the religious right, can combat the extremist narrative politically.

Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, general secretary of the cell, spoke of the human rights legislations that PPP had instituted in the last government. Khokhar in his remarks said the PPP government made several legislations regarding the human rights throughout its tenure and the pervious government initiated several steps for protecting the basic rights of the people.

 He appreciated Nafeesa Shah’s efforts for human rights cell of the PPP. He said that PPP would also pressurise the government to take positive steps for the welfare of poor class.