ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly, through a unanimously passed resolution on Wednesday, expressed sympathies and grief over the loss of precious lives in Balochistan’s earthquake, calling upon the government to expedite the rescue and relief operation in the quake-hit areas.
The House also saw a walkout from the main opposition parties which termed the attitude of the government benches non-serious over the earthquake.
PPP-P, PTI and JI staged a walkout from the House, which was severely criticised by the treasury benches.
Initiating the debate, Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah came down hard on the PML-N government over absence of treasury members from the House.
“The government on this natural calamity is giving a wrong message to Baloch people through its attitude,” he said, demanding the government ensure rescue and relief work in the affected areas.
“Is Balochistan not part of Pakistan? Why is the government silent on this big disaster?” Shah said raising volley of questions. He added the prime minister should appeal for help at the United Nations. “I am hopeful my voice will reach there and the PM will hold a press conference at New York on this issue,” he said.
Amid slogans of “shame”, he further said the government side had yet not shared any information on this important issue.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab, countering the attack, rejected the observation of the opposition benches and said the government was aware of the intensity of Balochistan’s tragedy and army medical teams had been sent to the affected areas. He added the federal government was in touch with the provincial government and the facts would be shared with the House soon.
Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafiq strongly reacted over the opposition walkout, saying this attitude would not prove fruitful for the Baloch people in trouble. “Just for grabbing presence in news, they staged a walkout,” he said, adding PPP in its tenure looted the country. “Zardari Sahib’s party created plethora of problems and difficulties,” he remarked in a harsh tone.
PTI’s Shah Mehmood Quereshi said the government should have given a clear picture about Balochistan’s earthquake. He pointed out that the Balochistan government had not so far formed its cabinet. “Who will oversee relief activities of already deprived province of the country,” he said, adding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should come back and deal with the situation.
Earlier, in response to Javed Hashmi’s concern about misuse of public money, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the government had institutionalised all funds to halt misuse of the national exchequer.
Awais Leghari, on a point of order, drew the attention of the House over expected violation of 1991 Water Accord. “The government should look into this matter,” he added.
Lawmakers both from treasury and opposition benches, Maulana Ameer Zaman, Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Kishwar Naeema, Tariq Ullah and others, termed the Balochistan issue a big tragedy, urging the government to take immediate steps to provide rescue and relief to the victims.