Mushahidullah takes aim at judiciary in Senate

ISLAMABAD –  Defending the parliament as an institution, a key government functionary and senior Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader, Monday directly accused the superior judiciary for conniving with the establishment to disqualify former prime minister and chief of the ruling party Nawaz Sharif.

The federal minister and a close aide to the ousted Nawaz, Senator Mushahidullah, while taking part in the debate in the Senate on the anti-parliament remarks of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan and the Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, said the “judiciary proudly in connivance with the umpire or the establishment disqualified Nawaz Sharif.”

At the outset of the debate that started from the points of public concern, Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani warned the members, while quoting his own three rulings and each ruling of his predecessors Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Waseem Sajjad, said that the statement or remarks made by the member of a house could not be taken up in the other house.

“This was also agreed upon in the house business advisory meeting,” he said.

However, the chair allowed that members could discuss the supremacy of the parliament.

The PML-N from the treasury side and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) from the opposition benches came on the same page with regard to the anti-parliament remarks of the two leaders and severely criticised the PTI chief without mentioning his name as chair did not allow it.

On the other hand, the PTI members defended the remarks of their party chairman and the parliamentary leader of the party in the Senate Noman Wazir went to the extend by saying that the word “cursed” used for the parliament was right keeping in view the low-level performance of the house.

Environment Minister Mushahidullah in his remarks said that word ‘cursed’ used for the parliament meant treason against the state. He, while hinting towards the PTI’s sit-in of 2014, said that “they were used of attacking the PM house, the PTV building and tearing into pieces gates of the parliament.”

Mushahidullah said both the leaders crossed red lines and the house would have to suggest the action. He accused that Khan’s remarks insulted the mandate given to him by hundreds of thousands of people. Mushahidullah said that Khan got himself disqualified from becoming member of the parliament as he used derogatory remarks for the institution for which he would contest to become a member.

The PML-N Senator, Ayesha Raza Farooq, said she was personally ashamed of the words that were used for the parliament. PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said somebody who was also a beneficiary of the parliament should not abuse it.

“With these remarks, those forces gain power who wanted to undermine the parliament,” he said and called the word highly condemnable.

PTI Senator Azam Swati defended the remarks of his party chief and said President Mamnoon Hussain has also used same derogatory remarks for the corrupt people and Nawaz had also used the name of Sheikh Mujeebur Rehman, the nationalist leader of Bangladesh, and all the words should be taken into consideration when it came to the remarks of Imran.

Another PTI legislator Noman Wazir said the performance of the parliament was below average. He said that it was the government that was not serious in implementing the decisions of the parliament. “I have never seen a weaker institution than that of the parliament,” he said, adding that no other words than this could be used for the parliament.

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani directed Senate standing committees on interior and human rights to pay a joint visit to Kasur to look into the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl Zainab and report back to the house by Friday. The committees will apprise the house of the headway made so far in probing the horrific incident.

Rabbani also expressed deep concern over the non-constitution of the commission on rights of children and asked the government to constitute it by January 26.

He wondered why so far the “beast” in Kasur rape-murder case had not been apprehended, to which Senator Rehman Malik, who heads the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, shared some details with the house. Malik, while citing the earlier briefing given by additional inspector general of police Punjab to the committee, said that only one individual was behind the rape of eight children as suggested by the DNA tests. Police were still clueless, he added.

Taking part in the discussion on the mysteriously disappeared activist Raza Mehmood Khan who went missing from Lahore on December 2, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that it was intriguing that most of the bloggers and activists who went missing were those who were advancing alternative theories of national security and disagreed with the official narratives.

He said that the missing Raza Mehmood was known for advocating peace in the region particularly peaceful co-existence with India. This is against the state narrative of peace and security in the region, Babar said.

He said the five bloggers who went missing and later returned homes were too scared to talk about their ordeal and had sought refuge in foreign lands. They too were known for posts that went against the official narrative of what constituted national security, Babar said.

He proposed that the recovered persons be encouraged to speak about their ordeal with the human rights committee of the Senate in an in-camera session. The committee should then prepare a confidential report on the basis of their testimony, which may then be taken up with state agencies, Babar said.

He also proposed disbanding the present commission on enforced disappearances and replacing it with another one, which should also include experts in investigation. The commission has not been able to find out from the recovered persons as to who were their tormentors and it is time that it was disbanded. The chair sought a fresh report from the government over missing Raza Khan.

 

 

Imran Mukhtar

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