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Senators seek tougher penalty for rapists

17 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Legislators in the Upper House of Parliament on Monday passed a resolution demanding appropriate measures against increasing incidents of rape, particularly of minor girls in the country.

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Senator Mian Raza Rabbani presented the resolution, which was passed unanimously.

He strongly condemned such heinous acts, particularly the recent rape of a minor girl in Lahore. In the resolution, he called upon civil society, intellectuals, clerics and media to launch a social campaign against perpetrators of this crime and urged federal and provincial governments to amend the law to award stern punishment to those who are found guilty.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq termed cases of rape "shameful" for the country.

He added, "Rape of a minor is a psychological problem and it should be addressed." He urged all segments of society to play their role against this crime.

The Senate also passed another resolution, submitted by MQM's Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, urging the government to take immediate steps for construction of new water reservoirs in order to meet the shortage of water in the country.

Mashhadi regretted that in Pakistan not a single government took appropriate measures to address water related issues.

ANP Senator Zahid Khan informed the House that there is great potential for hydropower generation through small dams, but regretted that the government could not release development funds in this direction in the annual budget.

He also regretted that the government could not allocate any amount for the construction of Munda Dam.

PML-N Senator Hamza again raised the issue of controversial Kalabagh Dam, and called for constructing more water reservoirs mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar claimed that Pakistan is a water-stressed country, adding that according to a UN report the situation would further deteriorate in the next two years.

Senator Mohsin Leghari informed the House that the country's existing water storage capacity had declined by 35 percent. If proper measures for water storage are not taken, the country would confront dire consequences, he added. Other senators also called for appropriate measures for water storage. The House then passed the resolution unanimously.

Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussain Bukhari said the resolution is being sent to the division concerned and it should respond to this House within two months.

The Senate also passed motion regarding 'The Civil Servants (Amendement) Bill, 2013'. The bill states that a civil servant, holding dual nationality or citizenship, shall not be entitled for promotion to posts in grade 20 or above.

Taking part in a debate on foreign policy, drone strikes and NATO supply route, Farhatullah Babar made a plea to revisit the current political narrative on drone strikes.

"We must admit that drones have been an effective weapon against militants but we have to figure it out as how to make it lawful by seeking drone technology and using it ourselves."

Farhatullah Babar said that it should be admitted that drone attacks have been taking place with the permission of the security establishment and that these strikes would not be ended as long as foreign militants were tolerated on Pakistani soil.

"We must revisit our political narrative and find ways to make drone strikes lawful," he added.

Initiating debate on the resolution moved by him on the subject of dual national judges, Senator Farhatullah Babar said that questions were repeatedly raised both in the Senate and National Assembly about the identity of dual national judges, if any, but it was merely stated that law and the constitution did not bar dual nationals from becoming judges.

"Evasive replies to such questions asked in parliament for more than 16 months suggest that there may actually be judges with dual nationality but their names are not being made public. Lately the same evasive reply has also been given to a question asked in the National Assembly last week," he said.


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