LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed a unanimous resolution against drone attacks on Pakistan, urging the federal government to convey the US that these attacks were not acceptable at any cost.
Provincial Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah presented the resolution which reads, “This house strongly condemns the drone attacks and declares that these attacks are against the fundamental human rights as well as sovereignty and independence of Pakistan. The drone attacks are being carried out on ambiguous information which is illegal according to international laws.”
The house demanded the federal government convey the US government that these attacks were not acceptable at any cost. It said relations between Pakistan and America should be based on mutual respect and equality.
“This house supports the standpoint of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on drone attacks also appreciates diplomatic efforts of the federal government in this regard,” the resolution further reads. It added the federal government should also try to develop national consensus on terrorism on immediate basis.
Jamaat-e-Islami parliamentary leader Dr Waseem Akhtar said such resolutions had been passed by various assemblies of the countries, but the US government did not honour them. He asked the federal government to order the army to shoot down US drones.
The resolution was initially moved by PTI MPA Mian Aslam Iqbal on Tuesday, but Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah wanted the same to be amended to the extent of acknowledging efforts of the federal government towards stopping the drone attacks. The issue was resolved with the intervention of PA Speaker Rana Iqbal and the resolution was unanimously passed.
On Friday, the PA session started two hours behind its scheduled time. Speaker Rana Iqbal chaired the session while finance and environmental protection provincial ministers, Mujtaba Shuja and Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, respectively, answered queries during the question hour.
On the appeal of Dr Waseem Akhtar, the opposition also staged a walkout from the session in protest against non-compliance with the Federal Shairat Court’s verdict on interest-free financial system in the province. Dr Waseem expressed his dissatisfaction with the departmental reply that the government had no proposal under consideration to adopt any interest-free financial system. The question related to debts and loans of Punjab on which the provincial government was paying interest worth billions of rupees.
Later, Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman told the house on a point of order that introduction of an interest-free financial system was a federal subject and the provincial government had nothing to do with it.
The opposition members returned to the house ending the protest soon. During the question hour, to a question about the establishment of Provincial Finance Commission Award for equal distribution of funds among the districts in Punjab in accordance with the 18th Amendment, the finance minister told the house that after the local government elections, it would be completed as mayors and other heads of the local governments were main components of the commission.
Environmental Protection Minister Col (r) Shuja Khanzada, while replying to queries, told the house that the government was making legislation to end manufacture and use of polythene shopping bags while awareness campaign teams would also be formed in this regard.
To a query about the poisonous water being released by factories into drains of Samundari, Faisalabad, and the Ravi River, the minister told the House that around 125 industrial units were involved in it, adding that was a reason behind diseases like hepatitis. He said there were 338 industrial units in Faisalabad and the government had allocated 4,500 acres of land for an industrial estate where these factories would be shifted as soon as possible.
After the question hour, the house held general discussion on the repot of the Punjab Pension Fund for the year 2010, urging the government to ease the rules for pensioners or widows. The finance minister pointed out that they had already taken steps to facilitate pensioners.
The session was adjourned till next 3pm on Monday.