Govt asked if anyone availing concession offered to Jadhav

Updated 16 Jul 2020

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Deadline for filing a review plea against death sentence of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav expires in less than a week. — DawnNewsTV/File
Deadline for filing a review plea against death sentence of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav expires in less than a week. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: With the deadline for filing a review plea against the death sentence awarded to Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav by a military court expiring in less than a week, the government was asked in the Senate on Wednesday to explain if anybody was availing the concession offered through an ordinance.

The issue was raised in the Senate by PPP leader Mian Raza Rabbani when a minister was about to present in the upper house Covid-19 (prevention of hoarding) Ordinance after a delay of almost three months.

He said the inordinate delay in laying the ordinance promulgated back on April 17 had not only affected the right of the house to move a resolution for its disapproval, but also amounted to breach of privilege.

Likewise, he said, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Review and Reconsideration Ordinance had been promulgated on May 20, but it, too, had not been presented in any house of parliament.

He pointed out that the Senate met from June 5 to June 24 and the National Assembly from June 5 to June 30 and the two houses were again in session from July 8 and July 13, respectively, but these ordinances had not been laid before the parliament even now.

Rabbani slams delay in presenting ordinances in Senate

He said the minister concerned must give an explanation for the delay.

Mr Rabbani said that under the ordinance any foreign national, authorised representative or counsellor officer of the commission could file a review and reconsideration petition against the judgement of a military court before the high court within 60 days after the promulgation of the ordinance.

He asked the foreign ministry to explain if the concession was being availed by anybody as more than 50 days had already passed.

He also criticised the government for announcing resumption of the Afghan Transit Trade through the Wagah border on Kashmir Martyrs Day.

He asked the foreign minister to brief the house on implications for the region of Iran’s decision to drop India from Chahbahar Port project and Tehran’s new strategic alliance with Beijing.

Mr Rabbani said that the minister concerned did not even mention the ICJ review and reconsideration ordinance at all and he just said that Covid-19 ordinance was meant to avert threat of hoarding during the pandemic.

He said there should be a consensus between the government and the opposition over public interest legislation.

The Deputy Chairman of Senate, Saleem Mandviwala, who was chairing the session, said that nobody would object if it was a good ordinance, but there should be no unnecessary delay in laying the ordinance in the house.

PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman said she would submit a resolution to reject the Covid-19 ordinance.

She pointed out that she had submitted a similar resolution to disapprove another resolution last month, but it was yet to come on the agenda.

She said that under the rules a three-day notice was required to move a resolution to disapprove an ordinance.

Later, taking part in the discussion on the president’s address to the joint sitting of parliament in September last year, she said that Kashmir issue had become more important than ever specially now when Modi’s Nazi government was inflicting new atrocities against Kashmiris after August 5, 2019.

“But it is shocking that the government did not oppose India’s non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. Pakistan should have started lobbying a year ago. Even then we were all discussing what we all could do to help Kashmiris and had warned the federal government that this was the time to change our policy but no heed was paid to our point of view on the issue. The government should have taken a stand for Kashmir by opposing India’s seat,” she said.

Commenting on the new domicile rule in India, she said that “under the Nazi government of Modi, the new domicile law allows Indian citizens having lived in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years to claim a “domicile certificate” for residency benefits.

She said that up to 25,000 people had been granted domicile certificates raising fears of the demographic change in Kashmir. “There is a Nazi government there and here we have the Niazi government which did not even oppose India’s seat in the UN.

“Does this house not agree that India has gone far ahead of any conventions, laws, moral obligation as a nation? Of course, it has. So, why are we doing regular, conventional diplomacy when this house has repeatedly requested and advised this government in our collective best interests and in the best interests of Kashmir not to do that,” questioned the Senator.

“You had a year in which you could have tried your best. You had the support of several other countries like Turkey and Malaysia. No extra teams were required, the people there were enough but still you did not oppose India’s seat. When Kashmir is the cornerstone of your foreign policy then why did you not lobby for one year to make sure this is not what it is or give some assurance that if this seat goes there will be no blockage on the Kashmir issue in the UNSC.

“There’s already a blockage but there will be further blockage in all the committees where Kashmir issues will be raised, including the human rights,” she added.

“We need to act now. India has done away with the conventional diplomacy, international laws and moral obligations. So, it is our responsibility to have acted out of the box, even diplomatically and there’s no rocket science in it. We all want the same thing then why is the federal government so chilled out,” the Senator added.

Ms Rehman said: “The prime minister did not call even one meeting on Kashmir. Is his ego more important than Kashmir? What message are we sending across the border to Kashmiris? Previous governments are continuously blamed, but what has this Nazi government done for Kashmiris? There is no disagreement when it comes to Kashmir issue. We are all on the same page when it comes to this issue and stand together to protect Kashmir.”

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2020