The opposition lawmakers on Wednesday staged a token walkout from Senate in protest against the government’s stringent policy of blocking computerised national identity cards (CNICs) of Pakhtuns, accusing the interior minister of ethnic profiling.
The opposition MPs, except Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), along with Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), an ally of the government, stormed out of the House after the State Minister for Interior Baligur Rehman showed reluctance to soften the policy.
The MPs belonging to Awami National Party (ANP) along with PKMAP staged a sit-in outside the Parliament House entrance, demanding the government to immediately unblock the CNICs of Pakhtuns.
According to Balig who informed the Senate that the government cannot succumb to the pressure as this is being done to identify aliens, mostly Afghan refugees, who have obtained CNICs during their stay in the country.
Senator Jahanzeb Jamaldeni of Balochistan National Party (BNP-Mengal) said that his party fully endorsed the government’s decision to block the CNICs, as some political parties, especially in Balochistan, are staging protest to increase their vote bank through such tactics.
“I fully support the government and it must expel all those Afghan refugees who have got fake CNICs. We all know there are 20 per cent Pashtuns, 50 Baloch, and 10 per cent settlers in the province, but some parties are bent upon increasing their vote bank through such tactics,” he added.
Responding to Jamaldeni, Senator Usman Khan Kakar of PKMAP, whose party has accused the Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan of ethnic profiling, rejected the notion, saying his party also wants Afghan refugees to be expelled if they had fake CNICs.
Earlier, Senator Farhatullah Babar of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) forewarned that next time it can be his turn as unknown people have started kidnapping the close aides of former President Asif Zaradri.
“The next time it can be my turn, as I am also very close to Zardari because I am his spokesperson. The issue of enforced disappearance has taken a new dimension which, if goes unnoticed, will be very dangerous,” he warned.
Responding to a question asked by Senator Babar about mysterious disappearance of three close aides of Zardari who went missing some days back, Baligur Rehman said that the police as well as Rangers are clueless about their whereabouts.
“I checked with the Sindh police but they have no clue about them, and I also checked with DG Rangers, who was also unaware about their whereabouts and said that his men are trying to trace them out on the orders of Sindh chief minister,” he added.
Speaking on a point of order, Senator Sherry Rehman of PPPP came down hard on the government for its poor lobbying to expose India before the world despite nabbing a serving officer of Indian Navy officer on charges of spying.
“The Indian foreign minister is bashing Pakistan 24/7 by sitting on Twitter, but we don’t have a foreign minister. The mysterious silence from the Prime Minister on the spy and his team’s poor performance on social media to expose India is beyond comprehension,” she lamented.
The spy, a naval officer named Kulbhushan Yadav, was arrested in March 2016 for spying in Pakistan has further strained Pakistan-India relations after a military court sentenced him to death this week.
Sherry said that the government must not ignore the power of social media, as India is busy maligning Pakistan through social media, despite the fact that its spy was caught red-handed. In an obvious reference to military, Senator Nehal Hashmi of ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said that the nation salutes the bravery of the institution that sentenced a spy to death.
“This is the voice of every Pakistani as we will not tolerate anything against the motherland. We will hang whoever is found involved in anti-Pakistan activities as we are a nuclear power and fully capable to deal India,” he maintained.
Responding to a calling attention notice by Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, on behalf of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Law and Justice Minister Zahid Hamid said that $100 is still a legal tender, and any bank which does not accept the currency will have to face the music.