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Pakistan Legislators to pass resolution in support of Rohingya Muslims today

By Ijaz Kakakhel
June 9, 2015

* Lawmakers suggest raising the issue at UN Human Right Council * Raja Zafarul Haq suggests moving the International Criminal Court

ISLAMABAD: Taking strong notice of inhuman attitude towards Rohingya Muslims, legislators in the Upper House of parliament on Monday asked the government to raise the issue with the United Nation.

They suggested that the issue should be raised at the UN Security Council and its Human Rights Council against genocide of Rohingya Muslims. The senators strongly criticised the Myanmar government for the genocide of the most prosecuted minority of Rohingya Muslims as well as the world community for acting as a silent spectator.

The House began debate on a call attention notice moved by Mohsin Leghari, and later decided to pass a unanimous resolution to convey its concern to the international community and express solidarity with the Rohingya Muslims. The House will pass the resolution today (Tuesday) and a copy will also be sent to United Nations.

Taking part in the debate, opposition leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan lashed out at the Muslim world for its silence over the atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. “We must accept the facts. There is no Muslim Ummah at all... we will pass the resolution but nothing will happen, the Rohingya Muslims will continue to be prosecuted but the Muslim Ummah will not come for their rescue,” he stated angrily.

Apparently pointing towards the Arab League who supported Saudi Arabia against Yemen, he pointed out that Iraq was invaded and Afghanistan was attacked but there was no Muslim Ummah to raise its voice but they joined hands with Saudi Arabia because the kingdom is an ally of the US.

“We, instead of calling the Muslim Ummah, must urged the international human rights body to look into the matter on humanitarian grounds”, he said and endorsed the MQM’s Barrister Saif’s suggestion to invoke the UN Security Council and its Human Rights Council.

Earlier, Barrister Saif stated that mere passing a resolution and rhetoric statements would not serve the purpose, adding that the government should instruct the Foreign Office to raise the issue under the UN’s Convention against Racial Discrimination and Convention Against Torture at the international level.

He further said that any member country could take the issue in UN General Assembly and Security Council under Chapter 7 of the United Nations. He pointed out that Rohingya Muslims were not the only community being prosecuted but Christians in the North are also being subjected to the discrimination. He said that the European Union came and took up the issue at the UN by tabling a resolution but not a single Muslim country is ready to take this initiative.

PML-Q’s Mushahid Hussain Syed said that it was a humanitarian issue and the atrocities inflicted upon the Rohingya Muslims have no example. He said the Myanmar government is not even ready to recognise them as their citizens.

Prof Sajid Mir of the PML-N came up with more tough suggestion, saying that imposing sanctions against Myanmar government would not be enough but it needs use of force the way the United States used in Iraq and other Muslim countries.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq backed the suggestions by the senators, saying that the government should not only approach the Human Rights Council but also raise the issue with the International Criminal Court.

He said that the prime minister has also constituted a committee, which has finalised its recommendations.

Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani, in his observations, said that the government can better raise the issue through diplomatic channels and the copy of the resolution, being passed today, can be sent to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Those who took part in the discussion included PPP’s Taj Haider, Karim Khawaja, PML-N’s Kalsoom Parveen, Salim Zia, Chaudhry Tanveer, MQM’s Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Nighat Mirza, National Party’s Mir Kabir and others.

Earlier, the opposition parties refused to initiate the debate on budget and demanded the government to arrange live coverage of the Senate debate. On this, the chair suspended the proceedings for some time so that the matter could be resolved.

Information Minister Pervez Rashid later told the House that the PTV would arrange the live coverage of the House debate from today and the state television will also provide the transmission to other private TV channels.

Rabbani, however, was not happy for not consulting the Senate as the same issue was also raised by the opposition in the National Assembly and the government only negotiated with the parliamentary leaders in the Lower House.

Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir on behalf of the finance minister laid before the Senate a copy of Finance Bill, The Finance (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015.

Khurram Dastgir moved a motion that the Senate may make recommendations to the National Assembly on the Finance Bill, 2015 containing the Annual Budget Statement, under Article 73 of the constitution.

Responding to a call attention notice, Minister for Water and Power Khawaja Asif told the House that all the boards of the power distribution companies are independent and making decisions without any political influence.

The call attention notice was moved by PTI’s Nauman Wazir Khattak regarding unequal representation of provinces in the Board of National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) Limited and non-representation of experts in the board due to which a number of problems have arisen.

The minister said the members of the board have got a stay order from the court against reconstitution of the board. He said after the decision of the matter new board will be constituted having representation from all the provinces. He said the government is eager to constitute a broad based, non-political and professional board of NTDC having trans-provincial representation.

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