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Good words for Malala stuck in KP Assembly secretariat

Updated October 29, 2014


— File photo by AP
— File photo by AP

PESHAWAR: A resolution for Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has got stuck in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly secretariat as Jamaat-i-Islami, a partner of the Pakistan Tehreek-i- Insaf-led ruling coalition in the province, has made its inclusion in the house’s agenda conditional on the tabling of a similar resolution for scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui imprisoned in the US over links to terrorists.

Law and parliamentary affairs minister Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi told Dawn that PTI would support its coalition partner on the matter.

He expressed ignorance about keeping the resolution pending in the assembly secretariat.

The minister said some lawmakers had reservations about the resolution and was not sure if the Awami National Party would gather support of the opposition parties in favour of its pro-Malala move.

Notably PTI chairman Imran Khan had congratulated Malala on winning Nobel Peace Prize. However, the PTI-led provincial government did not issue any statement to praise the teenage activist for girls’ education.

ANP MPA Syed Jafar Shah had submitted the resolution to the assembly secretariat on October 20, which has so far not been brought on the house’s agenda.

Jafar Shah told reporters that he had requested Speaker Asad Qaisar to put the resolution on the agenda but the latter showed reluctance.

“It may create problems for us,” Jafar Shah quoted Speaker Asad Qaisar as saying during a meeting.

JI opposed to move until pro-Aafia resolution made part of house agenda

He said the Senate, National Assembly and Punjab and Sindh assemblies had passed resolutions to congratulate Malala Yousafzai on receiving Nobel Peace Prize.

The MPA said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had announced to establish a university in the name of Malala. He said the young activist belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and therefore, the provincial assembly should take the lead.

“I don’t know why the government is so scared about the resolution,” he said, adding that he had suggested in his resolution that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government should set up university in the name of the Nobel laureate.

When the house began proceedings on Tuesday, Pakistan People’s Party MPA Nighat Orakzai through a point of order drew Speaker Asad Qaisar’s attention towards the resolution.

She said not only Malala Yousafzai was a national hero but she was an international icon as well.

Orakzai said Malala’s efforts for the promotion of education had been recognised around the world and that she was given the Nobel Peace Prize and other international awards in recognition of her courage and contributions for the promotion of education.

“This is very unfortunate that a resolution submitted by a member of the opposition has been intentionally blocked,” she said, asking the chair to bring the resolution for Malala on the house’s agenda.

The MPA said the treasury and opposition should unanimously pass resolution.

Lawmaker of Jamaat-i-Islami Mohammad Ali Khan said Dr Aafia Siddiqui was the daughter of the nation and that he had great contributions for Islam. He said the house should pass a joint resolution for Dr Aafia and Malala.

Speaker Asad Qaisar remained silent on the point of order raised by Nighat Orakzai and moved to the agenda.

Insiders said Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, which had been opposing Nobel Peace Prize for Malala, was also not in favour of the resolution.

A JUI-F MPA told Dawn in the assembly’s lobby that his party might not support the resolution.

“I have informed my friends (ANP lawmakers) that he will not support the resolution,” he said, adding everybody knew the motive behind the award of Nobel Peace Prize to Malala.

In January this year, the provincial government had stopped a civil society organisation from organising a ceremony at the University of Peshawar to launch the book of the Nobel laureate, I am Malala.

Similarly, the banned militant outfit, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, had warned leading booksellers against selling the book.

Also, the house admitted an adjournment motion about the prevailing law and order situation in the province for detailed discussion.

JUI-F member Mufti Syed Janan, who moved the motion, portrayed the worst scenario in the province.

He said 44 policemen and other officials were killed in Peshawar in 2013 and the number had reached 138 in the current year.

The MPA said the nighttime flight operations at the Bacha Khan International Airport had been suspended due to the recent firing incident. He said the government had failed to provide protection to citizens and that the government’s writ had been confined to the Civil Secretariat and Police Lines.

Later, the Delimitation of Local Councils Ordinance, 2014 and Local Government (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2014 were tabled in the house.

The assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil Servants Retirement Benefits and Death Compensation Bill, 2014 after incorporating several amendments of the opposition in it.

Published in Dawn, October 29th , 2014