KP Assembly prefers Aafia to Malala

Source: Published in Politics on Thursday, October 30, 2014

While putting a resolution for Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai on the back burner, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Wednesday passed another resolution to press the US government for freeing scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui declaring her the ‘oppressed daughter of Pakistan’-

The house passed the pro-Aafia resolution tabled by Jamaat-i-Islami MPA Mohammad Ali Khan unanimously.

The treasury and opposition parties except Awami National Party had signed the resolution.

The resolution read Dr Aafia had been languishing in a US jail, where she was physically and mentally tortured and that the federal government didn’t pressure the US government for get release.

“This is the responsibility of the (Pakistani) government, the United Nations and Islamic countries to exert pressure on the US to free the innocent and oppressed daughter of Pakistan immediately.”

On a point of order, PPP lawmaker Nighat Orakzai sought the speaker’s permission for speaking on the resolution on Malala.

She said she wanted to include the Nobel laureate’s name in the resolution submitted by an ANP lawmaker from Swat, Syed Jafar Shah.

However, the speaker asked her to table a fresh resolution for the purpose.

The resolution for Malala submitted by Syed Jafar Shah on October 20 has got stuck in the assembly secretariat.

The mover has yet to gather support for getting the resolution passed by the house unanimously to congratulate the teenage Nobel laureate from his hometown, Swat.

Backburners pro-Nobel laureate resolution, demands release of scientist detained in US

A visibly dejected Jafar Shah told Dawn that opposition members, too, were not ready to support the resolution on Malala’s accomplishment.

Pakistan People’s Party, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl, Qaumi Watan Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz are part of the combined opposition.

JUI-F had advised ANP not to insist on tabling the pro-Malala resolution.

“There is a visible division among opposition members. Many of them are not in favour of the resolution on Malala,” said Jafar Shah.

Also in the session, PML-N MPA from Kohistan district Abdul Sattar Khan tabled a resolution seeking ban on parliamentarians and lawyers bowing before the assembly speaker and judges respectively during proceedings.

He declared the practice un-Islamic and said such practices were against the faith and spirit of Islam.

The MPA said a Muslim should bow his head only before the Allah Almighty.

Speaker Asad Qaisar opposed the resolution and ruled that every mover should provide a copy of his/her resolution to the assembly secretariat and discuss it with other members before tabling it in the house.

In light of the ruling, the resolution was deferred.

Sattar Khan didn’t take members of his own party into confidence before moving the resolution.

MPA Shaukat Yousafzai of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf tabled a resolution urging the federal government to simplify the procedure to renew computerised national identity cards.

The house passed the resolution unanimously.

Also, the treasury and opposition benches agreed that the issue of changes in textbooks of the province wouldn’t be politicised and that the teaching material would be made in light of the guidelines incorporated in the National Curriculum Policy 2006.

JUI-F MPA Mufti Syed Janan through an adjournment motion raised the issue of changes in textbooks and said the controversy had caused confusion.

He said the treasury should clarify position on the textbooks otherwise the matter should be referred to the house’s relevant committee.

The MPA said it was the sensitive matter and should not be politicised further.

Elementary and secondary education minister Atif Khan told the house that the government had no intention to remove contents about religion and ideology of Pakistan from textbooks.

He said textbooks would be published in light of the National Curriculum Policy 2006.

Local government minister Inayatullah Khan, who is a JI member, said the presence of Islamic content in textbooks had shrunk and that the people, especially educationists, had reservations about it.

He said it was a matter of faith and that Muslims couldn’t tolerate incorporation of material, which was against Islam and Pakistan’s culture and ideology.

“Pictures of girls wearing skirts have been printed in textbooks though skirt is not part of our culture,” he said.

The minister said though he had no objection to mention of Bacha Khan in textbooks, he didn’t want to see his (Bacha Khan’s) ideology included in them.

ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak, a former education minister, denied his government had removed material on religion and Pakistan from textbooks.

“Overlapping and repetition was avoided in textbooks but some people are misinterpreting the issue,” he said.

He asked PTI and JI to discuss the matter with all stakeholders instead of taking a ‘solo flight’ on it.

“We all are Muslims. Nobody has the right to issue certificate of one being good Muslim to others,” he said, asking the government to stop exploiting things in the name of religion.

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Written by Zulfiqar Ali

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