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NA divided over resolution to condemn Molla hanging

17 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was divided on Monday over a resolution to condemn the hanging of senior Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh leader Abdul Qadir Molla by the Bangladeshi government for war crimes committed during that country's independence struggle.

The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) opposed the resolution, which was presented on the anniversary of Fall of Dhaka, December 16. Moved by Sher Akbar Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, it received the support of PML-N, PTI, Awami Muslim League, Pervez Musharraf-led All Pakistan Muslim League, JUI-F, but it could not garner the support of MQM and PPP for unanimous adoption.

The PPP opposed the resolution on the pretext that it amounted to interfering in the internal matters of a sovereign country, while the MQM called for bringing back the Biharis stranded in Bangladesh rather than focusing on one issue. The resolution expressed condolences for the family members of Abdul Qadir Molla and asked the Bangladesh government to not resurrect the issues of 1971 and end all cases against leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh in a spirit of understanding.

Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan was strongly in favour of the resolution. Speaking on the floor of the House, he said that it would be better to adopt a "forgiveness approach" rather than touching the issues that happened 42 years back. However, he declared that Pakistan respects the sovereignty and independence of Bangladesh and said that the resolution is meant only for Abdul Qadir Molla's role before December 16, 1971.

Nisar deplored opposition by the PPP and said that it would have sent a good signal if it had been a unanimous resolution. He said 42 years ago we experienced the tragedy of Fall of Dhaka, but unfortunately we seem to have not learnt any lesson from that. "We react in a violent manner‚ do not respect others and despite claims about democracy our attitudes are not democratic," the minister lamented.

Nisar said it is an occasion to carry out a self-analysis to determine as to what we achieved and lost in the forty-two years. He said Jamaat-e-Islami wants to bring a resolution on the issue and the government would support it. Abdul Sattar Bachani of PPP said we should not interfere in the internal affairs of Bangladesh, noting that the issue pertains to an independent and sovereign country. PTI Chairman Imran Khan also condemned the hanging of Abdul Qadir Molla. However, he said that had the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report been made public many issues that the nation confronted later would have been resolved.

Imran noted that the Fall of Dhaka had shown that military operation is not a solution to any issue and the same should be applied to Balochistan and FATA. MQM's Abdul Wasim said that it would have been better if the government had presented the Hamoodur Rahman Commission report in the House on the anniversary of the fall of East Pakistan instead of discussing an individual's issue.

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of the PTI‚ Awami League leader Sheikh Rashid Ahmad‚ Raza Hayat Hiraj of PML-Q and Maulana Ameer Zaman of JUI-F said the JI leader was hanged because of his loyalty with Pakistan. Later, the House witnessed intense debate between Interior Minister Nisar and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi over thumb impressions' verification process. Nisar asked the PTI to suggest the mechanism for verification of thumb impression and said that if the PTI brought a constitutional bill to devise a framework for transparency for future elections, he would support it.


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