PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly passed a unanimous resolution on Monday condemning the display of blasphemous caricatures in France under the French government’s patronage.
The resolution moved by Sumera Shams of ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and signed by members from both the treasury and the opposition asked the federal government to raise the issue at the United Nations, asking the world body to enact laws banning blasphemous contents. The resolution condemned French president’s statements encouraging such acts, saying the caricatures had hurt the feelings of millions of Muslims. It said a European court in its verdict had ruled that publishing of blasphemous cartoons was not freedom of expression as it hurt the feelings of followers of religion so this should be banned. The resolution suggested to the federal government to launch a campaign worldwide against such acts to press the UN for enacting laws against blasphemous contents and raise voice for banning blasphemous contents on social media like holocaust as more than a billion Muslims cannot tolerate such acts.
The House passed a unanimous resolution demanding the passing of Journalists Protection Bill by the National Assembly and early implementation of the legislation so that newspersons could be provided protection.
Moved by Nighat Orakzai of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and signed by members from the treasury and opposition, it said journalism was an independent and sacred profession and people affiliated to it needed a safe and secure environment so that they could independently continue their work. The resolution said a few days back the reporter of Geo News Ali Imran was kidnapped and later released after protests were staged by the media and civil society. It said such happenings should be stopped and journalists provided protection through effective legislation. Through another resolution, passed unanimously, the House expressed grief and sorrow over the Jalalabad incident wherein many people including women were killed in a stampede.
The resolution said the people of Pakistan shared common religion, culture and history with the people of Afghanistan and both the countries had had trade relations for decades.
It said that proper arrangements should be made on both sides of the border for facilitating visa applicants. The resolution suggested to the federal government to take effective steps for easing visa process so that applicants on both sides did not face any hardships.
Earlier, the issue of the Billion Tree Tsunami was once again raised in the House as the opposition members demanded a probe into the alleged anomalies in the project. Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) lawmaker from Swat Sardar Khan through a question sough details of the plantation in the district under the project and money spent on it. Sardar Khan said he was not satisfied with the answer, saying the Forest department had purchased saplings from nurseries but plants were transported out of district and cheques were issued to a forest officer. He claimed to have the proofs of an inquiry but the Forest Department was reluctant to call a meeting and inform the stakeholders. The legislator demanded sending the matter to the standing committee. PML-N parliamentary leader Sardar Yousaf Zaman also supported sending the matter to the standing committee. Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Higher Education Kamran Bangash, however, said an inquiry into the alleged embezzlement in the project had been completed and action would be taken against those found guilty.
The House was told that the summary for extending the job tenure of contract doctors had been sent to the chief minister and their tenure would be extended for six months. Kamran Bangash informed the House that the contract of doctors recruited for the Covid-19 was being extended for six months. Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani raised the issue, saying the future of more than 1100 contract doctors was bleak. Kamran Bangash said the contract of these doctors would be extended for six months as the second wave of coronavirus was feared, however, their services could not be regularized without clearing the Public Service Commission examination.
The House witnessed a rumpus when the opposition objected to Kamran Bangash’s replying to the question. Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami and Khushdil Khan of Awami National Party said that according to rules special assistant and adviser were not authorised to reply to questions. However, Kamran said he would continue speaking on behalf of the ministers. The speaker asked both the sides to avoid exchanging harsh words and help run the House smoothly keeping in view our traditions.