Imran comes under fire in parliament

Published May 27, 2022
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif speaks during a joint session of parliament on Thursday. — Photo courtesy NA Twitter
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif speaks during a joint session of parliament on Thursday. — Photo courtesy NA Twitter

ISLAMABAD: The ruling coalition chided PTI chairman Imran Khan on Thursday for allegedly ignoring the Kashmir cause during his over three-and-a-half-year rule, as parliament unanimously adopted a resolution against the conviction of Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik, being persecuted in a manifestly dubious and motivated case in occupied Kashmir.

The first joint session of the parliament after the ouster of the PTI government was originally convened to discuss the prevailing economic situation in the country and the global economic and security environment.

However, on the request of Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar, the house discussed the situation in occupied Kashmir with a particular reference to the conviction of Mr Malik — an iconic leader of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a Srinagar-based alliance of pro-freedom and anti-India parties — by an Indian court and unanimously adopted a resolution against it.

The treasury benches used the opportunity to assail the Kashmir policy adopted by the previous PTI government.

Resolution against Yasin Malik’s conviction adopted

In his fiery speech, Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif alleged that the Kashmir issue remained ignored for the previous four years.

The Kashmir cause was ridiculed by a protest call on Fridays, he said, referring to former prime minister Imran Khan’s call to citizens to come out onto the streets for half an hour every Friday to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people after India’s unilateral actions in occupied Kashmir in August 2019.

Maulana Asad Mehmood of JUI-F also held the PTI government responsible for the present state of Indian atrocities in held Kashmir. “All that is happening in India-occupied Kashmir today is because of [the previous government’s] negligence and flawed Kashmir policy,” he said.

He said the entire nation should have expressed solidarity with Yasin Malik on Wednesday but lamented that the PTI sabotaged it by leading a march the same day.

He alleged that the PTI government “was installed through foreign funding with the agenda of recognising Israel and putting the Kashmir issue on the back burner”.

Maulana Mehmood also called for a decision on the foreign funding case against PTI in a week and undoing several bills bulldozed by the party during its tenure.

The house unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the abhorrent attempt of the Indian government to deprive the Kashmiri people of their true leadership in blatant violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The house urged the international community to counsel India to drop all fabricated charges against all political leaders of occupied Kashmir, including Mr Malik, and ensure their safety and well-being.

The resolution said the Indian government should arrange a meeting of Yasin Malik with his spouse Mushal Mullick along with his 10-year-old daughter.

Meanwhile, in his speech, PPP stal­wart Raza Rabbani referred to the developments linked with PTI’s march and regretted that “we look towards forces outside the Constitution”.

He said a fourth force now appeared to be emerging. Underlining the need to protect the trichotomy of power, he asserted that it was for the executive to decide how to regulate political public rallies and processions.

However, he admitted that parliament failed to play its due role. “Under the Constitution, it is a supreme body but it has let itself become redundant,” he said.

Mr Rabbani said whether it was the agreement with the IMF or negotiations with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), details had not been shared by the PTI government with parliament.

He said the country’s financial sovereignty had been sold out and the State Bank of Pakistan had been made answerable to the IMF by the previous regime.

Former PM Yousuf Raza Gilani predicted that the PTI would lose the next general election and would again stage a sit-in after that. Imran may also demand the resignation of US President Joe Biden, he said.

Faisal Sabzwari of MQM chided Imran Khan over his claim about an international conspiracy against him.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2022

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