PA resolution seeks Musharraf’s trial

LAHORE:The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday through a unanimous resolution urged the federal government to bring former president Pervez Musharraf back to the country through Interpol and start a case against him for toppling an elected government and breaching the Constitution.

Moved by law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, the resolution vehemently condemned military action against a democratic regime 12 years ago and termed it “worst tragedy”. Today, the Assembly proceedings started about one hour and 20 minutes late against its scheduled time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair.As the Question Hour ended, the Law Minister took the floor and asked the Chair that every member in the House wanted to condemn Pervez Musharraf’s take-over in 1999. He sought the Speaker’s permission for moving a resolution in this regard.Earlier, the Law Minister also moved a motion requesting suspension of the House’s business for resolution which was passed unanimously. After the passage of the motion the Law Minister read out the resolution. He stated: “The provincial Assembly declares the black military regime the worst tragedy in the history of Pakistan. This House demands from the federal government to call Musharraf back through Interpol and register a case against him for violating the Constitution, as he committed a heinous crime against the State, the Constitution and the masses and still while sitting abroad making serious dent to stability.”

There was a pin-drop silence when the Law Minister was reading the resolution. Breaking the silence, Seemal Kamran, an opposition member, voiced “I oppose [it].” Supporting her stance, she said that she was not against the resolution but wanted to add names of all the military dictators in it. She said members sitting in the House who took huge benefits from these dictators should also be exposed and condemned openly. In an aggressive tone, she said that armies always intervened and took over only on the demand of the politicians. “Though the House has condemned the October 12, 1999 take-over, what have our politicians learnt?” she questioned.

Opposition leader Chaudhary Zaheerud Din said that difference of opinion was the beauty of democracy. “But it also requires respecting the point of view of others.” He said the majority of the Treasury members were the product of martial laws. He said his party never supported any army rule. He also said the one-man show and defiant policies of Nawaz Sharif had led to his government’s ouster.

Senior Adviser to Chief Minister Zulfiqar Ali Khosa said military regimes were condemnable in general but Musharraf’s was the worst of them all. “During his regime innocent girls were killed at Jamia Hafza [Islamabad], the Constitution was breached and judges were arrested.” He challenged Pervez Musharraf to contest election from any constituency of the province against a common PML-N worker.

Criticising the role of PML-Q as an ally of the former president, Khosa said during their rule why they did not pass resolutions against previous dictators. He said it was alleged that PML-N was the product of dictatorship and came into power with the support of dictators but “our leadership has apologised for the act”. “Now,” he insisted, “it is their turn to correct themselves.” Taking part in the debate, Sher Ali Gorchani of PML-N announced that government should register a case against Musharraf for kidnapping his father during his military dictatorship and he would be the complainant in the case against the dictator.

Provincial minister for finance Tanvir Ashraf Kaira said that all the cases withdrawn under National Reconciliation Ordinance were politically motivated. However, he said, it was NRO that helped the nation to get rid of a dictator like Musharraf. Later the voting took place and both the legislators from PML-N and PPP gave vote in favor of the resolution, while PML-Q remained silent. Speaker announced that as no one opposed the resolution so it stood passed unanimously.

After the passage of the resolution the members of political divide including Chaudhary Abdul Ghafoor, Ali Noor Haider Khan Niazi, Sajida Mir, Riffat Sultana Dar, Tahir Sindhu, Hassan Murtaza, Rana Arshad, Ilyas Chinioti, Saghira Islam, Khawaja Islam, Dr Samia Amjad and Nargis Zafar participated in the debate on the resolution. During the hot debate on the dictatorship, Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif also arrived in the house and took his seat silently and remained in the house for an hour and then left the assembly without taking part in the assembly official business.

Opposition member Seemal Kamran moved the bill ‘The Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Privileges (Amendment) Bill 2010 but the house with majority rejected it. Four adjournment motions were also discussed during Tuesday’s proceedings that were moved by Riffat Sultana Dar, Asghar Ali Manda, Ch Zaheerud Din and Seemal Kamran that were kept pending. The adjournment motions moved and the movers were not present in the house were disposed of by the chair. On a point of order a member pointed out serious traffic problem in the city Lahore and asked the government to construct a fly over on the pattern of Australia on the Canal Road to avoid any major traffic jam – Dailymailnews