LAHORE - Punjab Assembly on Thursday condemned Indian atrocities in the held Kashmir, expressing solidarity with the Kashmiris and supporting their struggle for freedom from the Indian yoke.

Members from across the political divide condemned Indian Prime Minister Narendra Moodi’s provocative statements on Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and Balochistan, holding him responsible for the current spate of violence in the held valley.

Speaking on point of order, Ramesh Singh Arora, a Sikh member in the Punjab Assembly took strong exception to the utterances by the Indian defense minister who declared Pakistan a hell on earth in his recent speech. “Entire Sikh community is perturbed over the statement because Pakistan is a land which is house to the most sacred places of Sikhs, Hindus and Bhuddists. Pakistan is like Makkah for the Sikhs and the Hindus alike”, he said while making mention of Sikh Gurdwaras and Hindu temple of Katas Raaj on the Pakistani soil.

Citing the 1984 attack on the Golden Temple at Amratsar, Ramesh said that Sikhs in India were having a very hard life due to discriminatory policies of the government there. He said Pakistan will not discuss anything else with India except the issue of Kashmir if talks are held between the two countries. “Pakistan shall remain in a state of war with India till the liberation of Kashmir”, he observed. 

Following Arora’s speech, members from the opposition and treasury benches also gave vent to their anger against the Indian government.

Rana Arshad of PML-N called the Indian Prime Minister with a new name- “Darendra Moodi”, a distorted version of the Urdu word ‘Darenda’ meaning a ‘savage’. “Darendra is a cruel person who is responsible for killing of innocent Kashmiris.”, he said. Passionate speeches were also made by Waheed Gull and Farzana Nazir from the treasury benches.

Gull called Indian Prime Minister a fanatic (janooni) who was bent upon crushing the freedom struggle in Kashmir at the cost of innocent human lives. He proposed formation an assembly committee on the pattern of the one constituted in the National Assembly to be dispatched to different countries to highlight Kashmir issue at all international forums. He also called for convening a round table conference on Kashmir.

Arif Abbasi of PTI criticized the government for its failure to plead the case of Kashmiri people before the international community. It is because of our week foreign policy that Moodi took the courage to make such statements”, he remarked.  

Sadia Sohail Rana of PTI opposed any dialogue with India on Kashmir at this stage, pleading that it will harm the freedom struggle of Kashmiris which was at its peak at the moment.

Also, the Treasury and the Opposition on Thursday successfully resolved Wednesday’s issue involving a verbal brawl between the PTI member Mian Aslam Iqbal and Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal. Following a meeting on Thursday, Leader of the Opposition and Law Minister informed the House that the issue stood resolved amicably. Both praised each other for showing positive gesture to sort out the matter. Punjab Minister for Local Government, Tanvir Iqbal told the chair that he had directed MD WASA to visit the constituency of Mian Aslam Iqbal and resolve the issue of water there as pointed out by the PTI lawmaker.  

Earlier, PTI legislator Arif Abbasi raised the issue of Punjab government’s notice served on singer Hamza Ali Abbasi for his tweet on incidents of child-kidnapping in Punjab and termed it political victimization.

Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah responded by saying that it was not an FIR against anybody and the issue would be resolved once Mr Hamza clears his position in response to the notice served on him. He added that under the new legislation, it was a crime to spread information on social media without confirmation which is provocative in nature. 

The House deferred seven adjournment motions on various matters of public importance while a privilege motion was also deferred.

JI lawmaker Dr Wasim Akhtar staged a token boycott of the proceedings for 10 minutes to register protest against the sale of liquor in Punjab.

Faiza Malik of PPP drew government’s attention towards the plight of an old lady who had been robbed of one hundred thousand rupees by an employee of Services Hospital Lahore. “She came to the Hospital from Jhang for treatment of her ailing son, but an employee deprived her of one lack rupees with the fake promise of treating her son”, Faiza said, adding that government should look into the matter.  

On a point of order, Leader of the Opposition, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid castigated the federal cabinet for ignoring the most important issue of anti-Pakistan speech by MQM chief Altaf Hussain in its meeting held on Wednesday. He also wanted the federal cabinet to discuss the statements coming from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Moodi and its defence minister.

In the meanwhile, opposition members started chanting the slogan: Moodi ka jo yaar hai, ghaddar hai, ghaddar hai.

As he announced to boycott the Assembly proceedings as a token of protest against federal cabinet’s apathy towards the two issues, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal adjourned the session till Friday. Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment Bill), 2016 and Punjab Poultry Production Bill, 2016 were on the agenda of Thursday Assembly business, but they could not be passed due to adjournment of the sitting.