ISLAMBAD: Pakistan’s parliament on Monday passed a resolution urging the president to endorse a controversial deal for Islamic law in Swat that has sparked alarm about emboldening Taliban hardliners. According to the sources National Assembly adopted a unanimous resolution recommending the President to accord approval to Nifaz?e?Nizam?e?Shariah regulation for furthering objective of peace in Swat. The Resolution was moved by Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan.
The MQM legislators stayed away from the voting process. MQM leader and cabinet minister for overseas Pakistanis, Farooq Sattar said
‘We have our apprehensions, we will not take part in the vote,’
Speaking in the House after passage of the historic resolution, the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the House. The Prime Minister said that by supporting the implementation of the agreement signed by the provincial government, the National Assembly was respecting the mandate, desire and the will of the Provincial Government. He said that it was the manifesto of the PPP to make the Parliament sovereign and supreme institution and passage of this resolution was a major strive in this direction.
‘We want consensus of the whole nation. We want to take the house into confidence. We don’t want to bypass the parliament, We appreciate the sacrifices made by the people of North West Frontier Province in the war on terror. We are committed to implement the system and the whole nation should support it,’ he added before the regulation was unanimously approved by a voice vote among those lawmakers in the chamber.
The Regulation provides for Nifaz Shariat?e?Muhammadi through courts in the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas of the NWFP except the Tribal Area adjoining Mansehra district and the former State of Amb. The Regulation was submitted to the President by the NWFP Governor and the President had asked the Prime Minister to lay it before the Parliament considering it expedient for supremacy of the Parliament. After signing of the agreement between the NWFP Government and TNSM on February 16,2008, the law and order situation in Swat had started improving.
Monday’s vote comes just days after pro-Taliban cleric Sufi Mohammad, who signed the February agreement with the local government, lashed out at Zardari for not ratifying the deal and withdrew from Swat in protest. However, he has now said has that he is looking forward to practical implementation of Nizam-e-Adl regulation and claimed the Taliban will now lay down their arms.
Earlier, Dr Babar Awan said that some legislators during their speeches had only read the rules partiality and gave the impression that the National Assembly had no power to debate this issue. He also mentioned that some MNAs had pointed out that such a resolution can be moved but only by giving it a three?day notice.
Babar Awan said that the rules allow the Speaker to allow presentation of a resolution of urgent nature anytime. In this connection he referred to resolutions,adopted by the National Assembly on Palestine, Kashmir and many other issues which were also moved under Rule 159.
The sharia deal incited further controversy when a video broadcast on Pakistan television this month showed the public flogging of a veiled woman in Swat that incensed the Muslim nation of more than 160 million.
Input from Agencies
Image courtesy: Dawn