The lawmakers in the Senate on Thursday blasted the government for keeping its eyes shut in providing security to persecuted Hazara community, forcing about 70,000 Hazaras to take refuge in Australia that has tarnished the image of the country.
Through a calling attention notice, Senators Dr Karim Khawaj, Col Tahir Mashhadi (retd), Mian Atique, Rozi Khan Kakar and Farhatullah Babar, questioned why a huge number of people were forced to quit their citizenship and take refuge in Australia.
Senator Farhatullah Babar linked the Hazaras of Balochistan to the Rohingya Muslims as both were fleeing their countries in desperation. "If one is a Hazara, he is marked for assassination. Even the police belonging to the community are killed in targeted attack just to warn that anyone protecting them will meet the same fate," he lamented.
He said that Hazaras have been fleeing to Indonesia and Malaysia from where they have been seeking to travel by sea to Australia and New Zealand in search of safe haven. But lately the government of Australia had put up newspaper advertisements announcing that it would no longer accept refugees arriving by boat, he added.
He said that Hazaras fleeing Balochistan are threatened to meet the fate of Rohingya Muslims and become food for the fish, adding the plight of Hazaras is neither on the radar of the Parliament nor of the political parties, and they have left to defend themselves.
"We have been raising voice for the Rohingya Muslims but not for Hazaras. I would urge the Senate to take up the matter and set up a special committee of Senate to address the issue in earnest," he added. He said that the countries of the Far East to which Hazaras migrated do not allow them to work and their children cannot attend schools. If a generation of fleeing Hazaras remains illiterate, it will only add to the pool from which militants draw recruits, he warned.
Mashhadi said that persecution of Hazaras is the worst example of sectarianism in the country. He said that after human rights groups raised voice for them, the Australian government offered them asylum, which was the last option as the government had failed to ensure their security.
Senator Atique Sheikh said that the intentional human rights organizations have also stopped taking cases of Hazaras serious, which is unfortunate as their lives are still in danger due to government's failure to ensure security to them.
Winding up the debate, State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhary said that the government has no mechanism to give exact figure of people who have so far migrated to Australia. He said that a few years back when the government launched crackdown against terrorist organizations, they started targeting minority communities across the country in order to spoil the image of the country.
Speaking on a point of public importance, Senator Hafiz Hamdullah protested for not providing adequate security to Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani who, according to the senator, is facing life threats.
"JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Deputy Chairman Senate Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, and ANP President Asfandyar were given bulletproof vehicles after they were attacked by terrorists, but why the government is reluctant to provide similar security to the Senate chairman who is facing life threats," he questioned.
In utter disappoint over the government's negligence to provide security to him, Rabbani while raising his palms up to his head said, "He seeks security from Allah Almighty, as He is the protector of us all." The senators also paid glowing tributes to Dr Allama Iqbal in commemoration of his birthday that falls on November 9, saying the great poet had given a new awakening to Muslims of the sub-continent and all over the world. Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq said it is Iqbal's poetry that helped Iranians defeat imperialism.
Senator Taj Haider recalled that he was surprised when once at Tehran airport, a taxi driver recited a poem of Allama Iqbal by heart on knowing he (Haider) was from Pakistan. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said the Iqbal's poetry is both progressive and revolutionary, which gives a message of change, adding it was Iqbal who had predicted rise of China in 1932 and decline of capitalism.
The Senate also passed a resolution to pay tribute to prominent Sindhi intellectual and literary figure Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, who has passed away. The resolution was moved by PPP Senator Sassui Palijo. The House also offered fateha for the victims of latest terrorist attack in Quetta.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017