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‘Poor are born to serve the rich’

Updated August 26, 2016


ISLAMABAD: Controversial comments by PML-N Senator Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar during a meeting of the Senate Functional Committee on Devolution on Thursday, when he said the poor are born to serve the rich, triggered a strong reaction and arguments from members of the meeting.

Soon after the meeting started, which was presided by Mir Kabeer Ahmed Mohammad Sahi, members objected to the absence of the in-charge minister of Cabinet Division, Sheikh Aftab, and his secretary, and that they had not attended the last meeting as well. When he was called, he said he was busy in a meeting with the prime minister.

In the meantime, PPP Senator Taj Haider started a conversation about how the country has become the property of the ruling elite, and that all decisions were made in the interests of the rich.

PML-N senator’s controversial comments triggers argument in Senate body’s meeting

“We have sent hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis abroad to work as labour and send foreign exchange; [apparently] in the national interest and claimed that soon it will be proved that offshore companies were also made in the national interest. The poor of this country will never get to decide their own fates,” Senator Haider said.

To this, Senator Nasar remarked that if everyone were to become wealthy, there will be no one to grow wheat or to work as labour.

“This is a system created by God, and He has made some people rich and others poor and we should not interfere in this system,” he said.

The PML-N senators’ remark triggered a strong reaction, with Senator Haider saying that socio-economic classes were man-made phenomena with which God had nothing to do with.

Senator Mohammad Usman Khan Kakar also said that God created all people equal and that the poor were not meant to serve the rich.

However, Senator Nasar could not be convinced and said that “once in China all people were considered equal, which did not work out well”.

“Those who cannot get an education and cannot earn more have no right to live the life of a bureaucrat,” he said.

The chairman of the committee then gave the example of the US, where he said the country’s president shops in the same store as ordinary citizens and that the presidents’ children also go to public schools.

To this, Mr Nasar said that the principle of equality is not even implemented in parliament where members of the National Assembly were given development funds and not senators.

Devolved ministries

After Sheikh Aftab arrived for the meeting, Additional Secretary Cabinet Division Amir Tariq Zaman told members of the committee that 17 ministries were abolished after the 18th Amendment and that seven new ministries were established in order to look after some responsibilities which could not be devolved or to deal with international agreements.

However, most committee members agreed that only the liabilities of ministries were devolved to the provinces and not their assets.

It was decided that the committee chairman Mir Kabeer and Senator Haider will meet with Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani to discuss mechanisms to ensure all functions of ministries are devolved to provinces.

The committee also directed the Cabinet Division to submit a detailed report about devolved ministries, their functions and the establishment of ministries within three days.

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2016