ISLAMABAD: A senator on Friday called for an investigation into nuclear proliferation from the country during the era of former military ruler retired Gen Pervez Musharraf.

The demand came after Hafiz Hamdullah of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl asked during the Senate session why Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, described as the father of the country’s nuclear bomb, was not even mentioned during Yaum-i-Takbeer celebrations on May 28.

Senator Farhatullah Babar of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who sought “thorough investigations” into nuclear proliferation, said that Gen Musharraf in his book In the Line of Fire had conceded that several tonnes of nuclear material and drawings had been smuggled from Pakistan to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Cases of disappearance of cleric, four HR activists referred to Senate committee

But only one individual, Dr Khan, was singled out for nuclear proliferation, he said, adding that it was impossible for any single individual to smuggle out huge centrifuge machines and other nuclear material without connivance and assistance of other players.

He called for an inquiry into the matter and bringing to book all those involved in the scam. He said that the entire network should be exposed and insisted that it must include big names.

Hafiz Hamdullah said that Dr Qadeer was a national hero but he had been degraded and insulted by Gen Musharraf.

A day after Sassui Palijo of the PPP talked of mysterious disappearance of four people from villages of Badin district of Sindh, Mr Hamdullah raised the issue of disappearance of a cleric, Mufti Amir Zaman, from Attock in Punjab.

Mr Babar said that the Senate Human Rights Committee had in the recent past proposed legislation on speedy and inexpensive justice, which was subsequently endorsed by the Senate Committee of the Whole late last year.

He said that the draft legislation also provided for punishment for holding a suspect in unlawful detention and without bringing charges against them.

He said that the Senate Committee of the Whole had also decided that if the government failed to bring up the proposed legislation to rein in the agencies within 60 days then the Senate would adopt it as a private member’s bill with the support of leaders of parliamentary parties.

He said that the 60-day period had expired and asked retired Col Tahir Mashhadi, who was presiding over the session, to give a ruling to lay the bill as a private member’s bill.

Mr Babar proposed that the cases of disappearance of the cleric and four human rights activists from Badin be referred to the Senate Committee on Human Rights. Col Mashhadi accepted the suggestion and referred the matter to the committee.

Minister for Environment Zahid Hamid admitted that Pakistan did not have any ‘reliable’ system for monitoring data on air pollution. He said that seven centres set up with the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency back in 2007 had long become non-functional. The centres would become functional again in July, he added.

Responding to a calling attention notice, he said that a research study conducted by environment experts to deal with environment issues needed $40 billion to implement its recommendations.

Sherry Rehman, the mover of the notice, said that Pakistan was among the worst countries in the world in terms of air pollution. She said that pollution-related issues had never been taken seriously.

She had an argument with the minister when he called her ‘lady senator’. Ms Rehman reacted by saying that a senator was a senator and there should be no discrimination on the basis of gender. “Should I be calling you gentleman minister then?” she remarked.

Opposition members registered their protest over mistreatment of Sheikh Rasheed, a prominent opposition MNA, by a PML-N worker inside the Parliament House building.

The house passed Illegal Dispossession Bill 2017 by amending some sections of the relevant act passed in 2005. Anyone found guilty of illegally occupying someone’s property may now face imprisonment for three years, according to the bill.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2017

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