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Parliament pays homage to Mandela

07 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly and Senate on Friday separately paid homage to late Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African statesman, and suspended their routine agenda.

The Senate also observed a one-minute silence for Mandela. Both the Houses unanimously adopted the resolution to acknowledge the hard struggle of the great leader for the rights of his people, saying it was also a message for other democratic forces. The first unanimous resolution read out by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz stated, "This House expresses its deep sorrow and grief over the passing away of Nelson Rolihlaha Mandela, a man who stood for the rights of the deprived and the oppressed not only in his own country but the world over."

"Pakistan had been at the forefront of the international efforts to dismantle the apartheid. The people of Pakistan are proud to walk the last mile of democracy in South Africa," mentioned the resolution. The same unanimous resolution was later presented in Senate and passed. Sartaj Aziz further said that Nelson Mandela appreciated Pakistan's support and twice visited Islamabad, first in 1992 and then in May 1999. During his second visit Mandela had addressed the joint sitting of parliament and the Pakistani parliament will always remember and honour Nelson Mandela, he added.

"He will continue to live in the hearts and minds of people of Pakistan for his special love and affection that he had for us," Aziz said. "Pakistan will always cherish his message that he conveyed in his inspiring speech here." The House also wished the people and the government of South Africa the courage and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss and the ability to follow Mandela's message of compassion, human dignity, equality, freedom and democracy.

At the outset of the proceedings Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Chairman Mehmood Khan Achakzai urged the deputy speaker to adjourn the proceedings, saying a great democrat has died. Leader of the opposition Syed Khurshid Shah seconded the suggestion, while State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed did not oppose the adjournment of the House. In the upper house of parliament, PPP leader Senator Raza Rabbani asked for adjourning the session in the remembrance of Nelson Mandela.

Leader of the opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said Mandela was not a leader of a single country but an international leader, who had spent 27 years in prison for the rights of his people. "The great leader always pleaded for reconciliation between black and white and he was a symbol of hope for the Third World countries," he said. PPP's Senator Maula Baksh Chandio was of the view that the whole South African nation considers him its father. ANP's Senator Afrasiyab Khattak noted Nelson Mandela pursued a non-violent revolution as against the French Revolution. He claimed that people will remember how a single person influenced others.

Several other senators, including Abdur Rauf, Mohsin Leghari, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri, Mushahid Hussain Syed and Shujaat Hussain, also paid tributes to the late Nelson Mandela. They paid rich tributes to the services of Nelson Mandela for eliminating racism, poverty, inequality and democracy. They said that Mandela was a great revolutionary leader who always fought against discrimination and struggled for uplift of the deprived segment of society.

End.

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