It initially appeared that the brutal gun attacks on two places of worship, which killed about 90 people and wounded 105 others, would find no mention on the opening day of the lower house's budget session as had happened in the Senate a bit earlier, for fear of possible ire of hardline Anti-Ahmadi religious groups.
But PPP's former information minister Sherry Rehman would not let it go like that and called for an immediate attention to her two adjournment motions on the most deadly attack on the Ahmadi community and the Israeli commando attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on Monday after Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Malik Amad Khan informed the house of Pakistan's diplomatic moves against the Israeli action.
Immediate support for her move came from three more women members — ANP's Bushra Rehman, MQM's Khushbakht Shujaat and PPP's Farah Naz Ispahani — while some men from both the treasury and opposition benches also jumped into the discussion before agreed resolutions on the two issues were drafted and adopted unanimously as substitutes for the adjournment motions.
One of them, moved by Ms Rehman, called the Lahore carnage “barbaric massacre” and a “coordinated act of terrorism” that it said represented a “serious challenge to the writ of the Constitution in Pakistan”.
Stating that “Islam does not permit attacks on minorities but instead seeks to protect all human life as sacred”, the resolution called for a thorough investigation and bringing militants who carried out the attacks to justice.
The other resolution, moved by PML-N's Zahid Hamid, described the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla as “an act of aggression and state terrorism” as well as a “crime against humanity” and asked the government to seek intervention by the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Conference and the United Nations to get the Israeli blockade of Gaza lifted.
At the beginning of the proceedings, PPP's re-elected member Jamshed Dasti came to the house in style, seemingly dismissing the shame of being found to have been elected in the first instance in February 2008 with a fake graduation degree and evoked “jiay Bhutto” slogans from supporters in a visitors' gallery as he and another newly elected party member from Punjab, Asghar Jatt, took oath as MNAs.
Mr Dasti wore a band on his forehead inscribed in Seraiki language with “Asan qaidi takht Lahore dey” (we are prisoners of Lahore's throne) and a black band on his left arm to protest at alleged excesses against him by the PML-N's Punjab government.
Some other members also appeared targeting the Punjab government in their speeches about the Lahore attacks for allegedly ignoring intelligence reports about militant threats to Ahmadis.
PML-N chief whip Sheikh Aftab Ahmed dismissed the allegations, saying “terrorism is on the rise in the whole of Pakistan”, not only in Punjab, and was a national problem.
PPP's chief whip, Labour and Manpower Minister Khurshid Ahmed Shah, said his party did not want to politicise the issue of terrorism and wanted it to be fought by all together.
But he said he had no objection to a demand by Mr Dasti for a house committee to investigate his charges of victimisation by the Punjab government and would like the PML-N to be its part.
However, PPP's Nawab Yousuf Ali Talpur, who was chairing the proceedings, gave no ruling on the demand before adjourning the house until 10am on Friday.
The house business advisory committee decided before the sitting that the national budget for fiscal 2010-11 would be presented on Saturday and approved on June 28.