Senate Votes For Mush Treason Trial By: Imran Mukhtar

ANP and Balochistan lawmakers asserted that Punjabi, Balochi, Pushto, Sindhi and Saeriki should be declared as national languages in addition to Urdu.

ISLAMABAD – The Upper House of the Parliament Monday unanimously adopted a resolution asking the federal government to institute a case against military dictator and former president Pervez Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution and arrest him immediately on his arrival in the country.

Lawmakers both from the treasury as well as the opposition benches including Professor Khurshid Ahmed, Afrasayab Khattak, Raja Zafarul Haq, Dr Khalid Somroo, and Mian Raza Rabbani jointly moved the resolution.

The draft of the resolution states that Musharraf twice held the constitution in abeyance; brought judiciary into disrepute; and removed, ridiculed and arrested judges of the superior judiciary. “He aided, abated and is an accomplice in the murders of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti and at the same time committed numerous crimes of a criminal nature against the people of Pakistan,” further says the resolution. It also says that his policies and use of state force in Balochistan led to the loss of innocent lives and further sponsored disappearance of the citizens.

Senior PPP lawmaker Mian Raza Rabbani reading out the text of the resolution said that he (Musharraf) compromised vital national security interests through clandestine deals and unwritten agreements with foreign governments and his economic policies widened the economic disparity between the various classes of citizens; he created monopolies, promoted cartels and give rise to crony capitalism. The resolution emphasised that Musharraf destroyed the federal structure, infringed on provincial autonomy, reduced the share of the provinces in the NFC Award and gave rise to horizontal and veridical polarisation.

At the end, it says that the House resolves that for these amongst other facts, reasons, acts, breaches and grounds he should be arrested immediately on arrival in Pakistan and the federal government institute a case under article 6 of the constitution against him.

Earlier, on the private members day, the house debated a resolution moved by PML-N, PML-Q and JI seeking immediate steps to declare Urdu as official language of the country in pursuance of Article 251 (1) of the constitution. The chair deferred voting on the resolution as one of its movers, Prof Khurshid, proposed some amendments to its original text.

The house saw a clear polarisation on the issue as PPP and ANP from treasury side and lawmakers from Balochistan and a newly-elected JUI-F senator from opposition side opposed the resolution. They said it would divide the society at a time when the country needed more unity. ANP and Balochistan lawmakers asserted that the indigenous languages including Punjabi, Balochi, Pushto, Sindhi and Saeriki should be declared as national languages in addition to Urdu.

Senator S M Zafar giving his expert opinion said that under article 251, provinces, not the federal government, were responsible to promote local languages. The opposition legislators asserted that Constitution of 1973 required replacing of English with Urdu as official language in 15 years of framing of the constitution. They said parliamentary proceedings and of courts especially should be held in Urdu as it was not easy for the respondents to understand proceeding in English. They viewed that it was necessary to declare Urdu official language to make Pakistanis a one nation.

Dr Khalid Somroo, an opposition lawmaker of JUI-F suggested that the indigenous languages should also be given the status of national languages while Urdu be declared as official language. Dr Abdul Malik, a senator from Balochistan, remarked that Urdu as well as English both were foreign languages and in fact, the Balochi and other indigenous languages were facing extinction and not Urdu and these needed more protection.

Hasil Khan Bazenjo opposing the resolution said that all local languages should be made national languages, adding that the nations were not formed on languages but on principles of equality. He also termed the Two-Nation Theory a controversial one saying that it was neither existed in the past nor was present today. Senator Afrasayab Khattak of ANP also opposed the resolution and said that his party was not against Urdu because it had the status of a language of coordination but it should not be used for political monopoly, as languages never form a nation

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