Sindh assembly passes unanimous resolution against blasphemous sketches -Speaker accepts resignations of four PTI MPAs

Karachi: Reflecting the national unity of the issue of the respect and honor of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), both treasury and opposition members joined hands and passed unanimous resolution against blasphemous sketches.

The resolution reads, the publication of blasphemous caricatures and cartoons relating to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) published by Jyillands-Postan in Denmark that were published in more than 50 members in non-Islamic world in 2005; the derogatory remarks of Byzantine Emperor Manual II, publicized by Benedict XVI in Germany in 2006 and the word of all the culmination of such offensive and derogatory caricatures by Charlie Hebdo published in Paris, recently has not only hurt but enraged the sentiments of the Muslim Ummah all over the world. Freedom of expression does not mean violation of Article 20 of the International Convention of Civil and Political rights.

This is a malicious attack on the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and deliberate attempt to incite violence and create discord amongst various religions. Islam is the faith of Peace and tolerance which promotes Freedom of Speech, but the publication of the blasphemous caricatures in the name of the freedom of expression is tantamount to insult Islam.

This House, thus, not only condemns the sacrilege, despicable and provocative blasphemous caricatures and cartoons related to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Hi) but also demands that the Organization of Islamic Conference, European Union and the United Nation take notice of such anti-Islam speeches and publications that incites violence and promote the clash of civilization and take stern action against such culprits and award exemplary punishment to them.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) taking the lead had already deposited a resolution on the issue on January 16. However, PPPP MPA Sorhab Khan Sarki tabled an out of turn adjournment motion on the issue. MQM insisted that as they had submitted the resolution on 16th January and the adjournment motion of PPPP MPA was not even on the order of the day, their resolution should be put in the house first. However, the deputy speaker, who was in chair at that time gave her ruling in the favor of adjournment motion of Sarki.

The House debated on the adjournment motion for two hours. Those spoke included 11 members of PPPP including the mover Sohrab Khan Sarki, Jamil Zaman, Jam Khan, Khairunisa Mughal, Mumtaz Shamim, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Syed Murad Ali Shah, Dr Sikandar Ali Shoro, Mohammad Sajib Jokhio, Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani and Mukesh Kumar Chawla .

However, five members of MQM including Sardar Ahmed, Mohammad Abdur Rauf Siddiqui, Naheed Begum, Mohammad Hussain Khan, Waqar Hussain Shah and Diwan Chand Chawla also made speeches on the resolution. Two speakers from PML-N, Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and Sorath Thebo, and one member from PML-F, Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi, spoke on the adjournment motion.

Almost all members present in the house wanted to speak on the issue but due to time constraint they were not given opportunity to express their feelings.

The speakers criticized the political and moral impotence of the rulers of the Muslim world, and the OIC. They said the West was afraid of the rapid spread of Islam and they wanted to check the speed of conversion to Islam of the western people. They said the West fully knows that Islam is the religion of peace, but the ratio of conversion to Islam in Western societies has baffled it. They said the West has inbuilt animosity against Islam. Describing the Western double standards on the hurting of religious feelings, they said when the statues of Buddha were razed in Afghanistan the western media termed it a grave disrespect of religious feelings and left no stone unturned to defame the Muslims, but when the Western countries hurt the feelings of more than one billion Muslims by publishing blasphemous cartoons of their Prophet Mohammad (Peace be upon him), the double-standard West termed it a freedom of expression. They said the freedom of expression does not allow hurting religious feelings of people of other religions. They said Israel even punishes those who deny the Holocaust.

They said that after the 9/11, the then US President had announced that a Crusade had been launched, adding the US leader perhaps did not know what was the outcome of the previous Crusade wars.

They said the Muslims are being disrespected, humbled and insulted because they have no unity and they rulers are too weak. They said when the rulers have no courage to face the situation the people settle the things on streets. They said even the small country like Chechnya showed courage to hold a ‘million march’ that was addressed by their president, but the prime minister of atomic nation of Pakistan is not respecting the aspirations of the Pakistani people and Muslim Ummah. They suggested the Pakistani government should take a lead in this regard. They said as per their knowledge the government has even not summoned the French envoy to show a state-level protest. They said the members of Sindh Assembly are willing to hold a rally or go to the French Consulate in Karachi and give them a memorandum of disapproval.

They suggested boycotting all products of the countries that are directly or indirectly involved in publication of the blasphemous sketches.

After discussing the adjournment motion, a joint resolution of MQM and PPPP was passed unanimously.

Today, when the proceedings of the House began, the speaker announced that he had accepted the resignations of four MPAs of Pakistani Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) and sent them to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

The House witnessed two walkouts one by MQM when they were not allowed to raise to raise the issue of alleged extra-judicial killings of their workers. They protested for about four minutes and later walked out at 11:27 am; however, they returned back at 11:34 am

The second walkout was staged jointly by PML-F and PML-N when they were not satisfied with the government response on the short notice question of the leader of the opposition Mohammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar about not giving government rate to sugarcane growers by the sugar millers. Mahar wanted to know what specific steps the government had taken to compel the sugar mill mafia to give the sugarcane growers the government fixed rate, but the agriculture minister was not present and the education minister Nisar Khuhro tried to answer the short notice question of Mahar. However, he could not satisfy the mover, who also blamed that the senior minister was ducking the pointy question and even misquoting the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The dejected members of PML-F and PML-N walked out at 12:33pm and returned back at 12:53pm.

The sitting began 48 minutes late than its scheduled time of 10:00am and at the start there was also no quorum. However, nobody pointed out the quorum. The leader of the House remained absent; however, the leader of opposition was present.

Later, the chair adjourned the house till Thursday, 10:00am.

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