ISLAMABAD, Jan 28: Senators condemned on Friday the killing of three citizens – two were shot dead by a US Consulate employee and the third was run over by his colleagues soon after the incident in Lahore on Thursday — and called for a trial under the Pakistani law. The Senate rejected a move to adopt a resolution condemning the murder of Punjab governor Salman Taseer and criticising a group of civil society and lawyers who had garlanded the assassin.

The house was even divided on offering fateha for the slain governor.

Condemning the Lahore incident, PML-N's Zafar Ali Shah said it would be unacceptable to the nation if the person involved in the crime was set free without trial.

Prof Ibrahim Khan of Jamaat-i-Islami urged the government to punish the accused in accordance with the law of the land.

Denying reports that the accused had been set free, Ishaq Dar of the PML-N said the Punjab government was investigating the matter and the man was under detention. Appropriate action would be taken in accordance with the law, he added.

Simeen Siddiqui of the PML-Q sought an inquiry to ascertain whether the American citizen was on a spy mission or working for a subsidiary of the Blackwater agency to create terror among citizens.

Abdul Rahim Mandokhail of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said that all foreigners were bound to follow the law of the land and the American involved in the crime should be dealt accordingly.

Haroon Akhtar Khan of the PML-Q said the accused should be given a fair chance to prove his innocence and in case of failure he should be punished in accordance with law.

He said the US authorities had detained and convicted Dr Aafia Siddiqui, although no proof was found against her.

Leader of the House Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari assured the senators that the US citizen would be tried in accordance with the law.

MOTION NOT ALLOWED: The house 'quietly' turned down a request of PML-Q's Nilofar Bakhtiar who sought to table a motion to condemn the killing of Mr Taseer and those who had supported the gruesome act by garlanding the murderer (Mumtaz Qadri) when he was produced in a court.

Prof Ibrahim opposed the motion, followed by a few from other parties. JUI-F lawmakers walked out of the house which Chairman Naek interpreted as rejection of the motion and decided against it by saying: “It is opposed.”

He then asked MQM's Abdul Khaliq Pirzada to lead fateha for Mr Taseer.

Strangely enough, no regular and collective fateha was offered by lawmakers and it remained an individual affair. Some raised their hands while others ignored.

Mr Pirzada, who was asked by the chair to lead the fateha, himself did not raise his hands for prayers.

OGRA BILL PASSED: The Senate unanimously passed the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (amendment) Bill 2010 after the government assured it that an amendment to the law regulating federal regulatory bodies would be tabled soon. Prime minister's adviser Nawabzada Ghazanfar Ali Gul moved the bill to amend the Ogra Ordinance 2002.

The bill has already been passed by the National Assembly.

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