ISLAMABAD - In a rare show of protest from treasury benches against the decision of Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf to drop murder charges against the owners of Baldia Town Factory in Karachi, PPP lawmakers led by Senator Raza Rabbani and Awami National Party Thursday staged a protest walkout from the Senate.
The PPP central leader said that theirs was a party of the labourers and it could never support the capitalists charged with killing of labourers. He said when labourers in Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) used to protest for their rights, they were charged under anti-terrorism laws and when labourers of the garment factory were killed, the murder charges are being dropped against the negligent owners.
“This is injustice... PPP should not do this at least,” he said, adding that it was the duty of PPP to protect the rights of the labourers, and then he staged a protest walkout from the House. Following Raza Rabbani, senators Moula Bukhsh Chandio and Dr Babar Awan of PPP and Haji Adeel of ANP also staged a protest walkout over this decision of the prime minister.
Leader of the House in Senate Jehangir Badr remarked that neither prime minister had given such directions nor he had the powers to get dropped any section from the FIR. Former law minister Moula Bukhsh Chandio also endorsed him saying he was present in the meeting where the matter was discussed and the PM did not pass any such orders.
“The PM had only sought a report because business community had made this demand on the plea that fire tragedy was only an accident and murder charges should be excluded from the FIR,” he added. PM had recently held a meeting with Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) where this mater had been discussed. Senate Chairman Nayyer Hussain Bokhari sought a complete report from the government on the matter by Monday on the demand of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Ishaq Dar.
Earlier, Jamiat Uleme-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A) continued their protest over the imposition of governor rule in Balochistan and staged a protest walkout from the House for the fourth consecutive day. On a point of order, Senator Kalsoom Perveen of BNP-A said that the people protesting over the death of killings in Alamdar Road bomb blasts had demanded for calling the army and not for the imposition of governor’s rule.
Senator Kalsoom said that an in-house change in the province was better to save democracy, and ground situation has not changed after the imposition of governor’s rule. She also condemned PML-N for keeping silent on the issue, saying that it did not utter even a single word over this undemocratic step, though PML-N always talks about democracy.
PML-N senator Jafar Iqbal said that Punjab governor was busy in giving controversial statements about the division of Punjab which he said was not the mandate of any governor. “We support creation of new provinces on the administrative basis but not on the linguistic ground,” he added.
Senator Farhatullah Babar explained that the commission on the creation of new provinces in Punjab had nothing to do with the statements of governor. He said the commission had only the mandate to create new provinces in Punjab because no provincial assembly other than Punjab Assembly had adopted the resolution for the creation of new provinces.
Mir Hazar Khan Bajarani, federal minister for Inter-provincial coordination, responding a call attention notice given by PML-F lawmaker Syed Muzaffar Hussain regarding outbreak of measles in Sindh, said that 232 children have died in the 11 district of the province due to the epidemic and the rports claiming 1,000 deaths was wrong. “Though this situation is also serious,” he added. He said, according to a survey conducted by the federal government, only 40 percent area was covered for polio vaccination instead of 95 percent as claimed by the provincial government. He made it clear that there was no shortage of polio vaccine with the Sindh government at that time.