ISLAMABAD - The lawmakers from treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly on Tuesday urged the incumbent government to start dialogue process with Taliban, saying the terrorist attack on Peshwar church should not affect the resolution of all parties conference (APC).
The House, suspending the agenda, continued debate on the heinous and inhumane terrorist attack on All Saints Church, as lawmakers from both sides expressed solidarity and sympathies with the Christian community.
With other proposals to hold talks, the lawmakers from PTI including Javed Hashmi, Arif Alvi and Dr Shireen Mazari also suggested the need for reviewing lacunas in the ‘blasphemy law’, if any.
The lawmaker from both sides of the aisle terming the Peshawar incident as a national tragedy viewed that those involved in the despicable incident should be brought to justice.
Taking part in debate, PTI’s senior lawmaker Javed Hashmi put weight behind holding talks with Taliban to resolve the issue. He said the country is facing a difficult situation where even worship places are not safe, arguing that this was not war of religions. About blasphemy law, Hashmi proposed some amendments in the law. “I against party discipline had opposed it. There is need to review it,” he added.
Having almost same suggestions, PTI’s lawmaker Shireen Mizari strongly supported the dialogue process to deal with the issue. “The dialogue process will clearly distinguish who are in favour of talks, and operation should be carried out against rest of them,” she opined. About blasphemy law, she felt that if there are some lacunas in this law then it should be reviewed.
Another PTI’s legislator Arif Alvi said that strict action should be taken against the perpetrators of this heinous terrorist attack. There is no need to change the policy to hold talks with Taliban, he maintained. Alvi also proposed that blasphemy law should be made better.
Taking part in debate, JI’s MNA Sahibzada Yaqoob said that dialogue process should be initiated, as it would help differentiate militant groups. About Javed Hashmi’s proposal, JI lawmaker said that the blasphemy law was made much earlier and if some one has any suggestion one should go to Shariat Court.
A JUI-F MNA Aasia Nasir, on her turn, also went against the second option of operation. She said it could be called security lapse as concerned authorities were frequently asked about insufficient security measures. She also expressed her annoyance over some of the headlines of newspapers about Christian community.
Another MNA from Christian community Tariq Christopher Qaiser, in a bit emotional way, said that legislation should not be made on the base of religion. “All Pakistanis should be given equal rights,” he said, adding that no person involved in terrorist attacks on Christian community has been arrested.
Ministers for Ports and Shipping Kamran Michal, on his turn, said that this attack was an attempt to sabotage efforts for establishing peace. “These attempts should be discouraged,” he added.
A lawmaker from treasury benches Major (Retd) Tahir Iqbal also opined that dialogue process is imperative to bring peace. “Use of power is not the solution as it has been exercised for the last 11 years,” he said, adding that second option of operation should come under discussion after failure of peaceful talks.
Taking the floor, Asghar Ali Shah said that there was need to initiate talks process now. “It should not be further delayed,” he said.
Another MNA Lal Chand, on his turn, said that there should not be discrimination with minorities. He pointed out discrimination in the text of oath. “Why other religions are not taught in the school as minorities children are bound to opt subject about Ethics or go for Islamiat,” he maintained
A senior lawmaker from PPP Abdul Sattar Bachai said that passing a resolution was not enough, as concrete measures should be taken to handle this menace. He further said that such kind of issues mostly happened in civilian governments.
Taking part in debate, MQM MNA Sajid Ahmed said that the government should now take step for talks. “The government should think about second option if failed in conducting peaceful talks,” he added.
Other lawmaker said that those attacking worship places like churches and mosques have nothing to do with humanity and are not serving the cause of Islam and Pakistan. The members said Peshawar tragedy was not an ordinary incident but aimed at destabilising the country. They said some foreign elements want to spread chaos in the country but the nation is ready to render any sacrifice to foil their designs.
Earlier, Speaker NA Iyaz Amir informed that the picture of the CE Gibbon, former deputy speaker, has been placed in the gallery along with other deputy speakers pictures.