The opposition members on Thursday boycotted the Senate proceedings over the government’s alleged indifferent attitude in handling the matter relating to victims of the Mina tragedy and its failure to bring bodies of the deceased to Pakistan.
Members belonging to all opposition parties, except the BNP-M, walked out of the house after Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan expressed dissatisfaction over Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid’s statement on the Mina tragedy. “We are staging a walkout over the government’s callousness and its failure to bring bodies from Mina to Pakistan,” Mr Ahsan said before walking out. The information minister, who along with Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, had gone to the lobby to persuade the opposition members to return to the house, said that Mr Ahsan told him that they had decided to boycott the rest of the proceedings. The opposition’s boycott forced the chairman to defer discussion on three adjournment motions. Earlier, Mr Ahsan claimed that about 300 Pakistanis had either died in the Mina incident or were missing.
He said he was surprised that why modern technology was not being used for identification of the deceased. Nadra (National Database and Registration Authority) could have resolved the problem within minutes if thumbprints of the dead had been posted on website, he said. “This government is not only incompetent and corrupt, but also callous.” The opposition, he said, would not let the government cover up the Mina incident and “soon we will be holding the rulers by their collars”. The PPP leader also expressed reservations over directives issued by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority to TV channels asking them not to malign the Saudi government in their talk shows. Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, who was among the pilgrims, said that except for the Mina tragedy the Saudi government had made excellent Haj arrangements.