‘Religion card’ charges fly in Senate amid opposition walkout – Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: A war of words erupted in the Senate between Treasury and opposition members on Tuesday, with both sides accusing each other of playing the religion card for political gain and holding hate speech and some members even shouting at each other and leaving their seats.

As Justice Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar sought permission to introduce a bill to amend the Railways Act of 1890, House Opposition Leader Dr Shahzad Waseem pointed out the need to also review other laws “used to oppress opposition and silence dissenting voices”. by article 144 and detentions.

Reacting sharply to remarks made by Defense Minister Khawaja Asif in the National Assembly against PTI leader Imran Khan, Dr Waseem alleged that the minister had delivered hate speech and played the religion card, while Minister Javed Latif had done the same a few days ago in a “hate speech” broadcast by PTV.

“They are gravely perplexed … and are now on a dangerous path,” he told Treasury parties and advised them to avoid misusing religion in politics and added that elections were the only way to move forward.

Shahzad Waseem outraged at ‘hate speech’ against Imran by ministers

He also called for a review of colonial-era laws used to stifle dissent and target political opponents and offered opposition support for such a move. Justice Minister Tarar welcomed the offer and said the ruling coalition parties still had a positive view of it and were ready to sit down with the opposition for it.

“If we want to enter the democratic era, leaving behind the colonial heritage, then ‘we must all adopt democratic conduct and recognize the power of the vote and accept the supremacy of parliament and must speak while sitting in it and must stop to come to cities with groups,” Mr. Tarar said.

However, Senator Saleem Mandviwala, former Deputy Speaker of the Senate and Chief Whip, noted that everything mentioned by the Leader of the Opposition “was started by the PTI and Imran Khan”.

“All the bad things they started and now blame others. They are the ones who made false lawsuits against senators, wreaked havoc in the country and instigated people,” he said, speaking to himself. asking what they wanted to prove by regularly saying there was a threat to Mr Khan’s life.

Maulana Attaur Rehman of JUI-F regretted that at a time when flood victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa needed help and rescue, the Chief Minister’s helicopter was spared for the PTI leader.

PPP Senator Moula Bux Chandio reminded PTI that it was Imran Khan who first used the term “State of Madinah” and then allegedly desecrated the premises of Masjid-i-Nabwi and called political opponents “ Yazeedi”.

PTI Senator Mohsin Aziz and PPP lawmaker Mr Chandio exchanged hot words when the former, speaking on his notice of appeal, questioned the need to build the metro bus project of Peshawar Mor to Islamabad Airport at the “huge cost of Rs 16.4 billion”. and “without a proper cost-benefit analysis and passenger load factor study”.

Mr. Chandio interrupted the PTI senator during his speech, which led to a heated exchange of words and the president had to erase some of the remarks of Mr. Aziz, who was also censured by the leader of the PPP for using “objectionable words”.

He said the PTI did not know how to behave and speak in parliament, adding, “Whenever anyone talks about using the religion card in politics and defaming democracy, the name of the PTI would be withheld.” .

PTI Senator Zarqa Taimur Suharwardy also continued to interrupt Mr Chandio, and PPP lawmakers also used harsh words for female lawmakers in response.

There was quite a furor in the Senate when the opposition staged a House protest strike and stressed a quorum, prompting the Speaker to adjourn until Friday.

Posted in Dawn, October 12, 2022

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