ISLAMABAD - The Senate on Monday unanimously decided to hold debates starting from September 6 on overall law and order situation of the country with special reference to continuous killings of Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan province and exodus of Pakistani Hindus from troubled provinces to neighbouring country.

Amid calls for release of Rimsha Masih, a Christian girl allegedly framed for blasphemy last month, after evidence against her proved false, the Senate following Opposition’s reservations referred enforced disappearances resolution to concerned House Committee for deliberation.

Senator Farhatullah Babar of PPP moved the resolution to sign and ratify the International Convention for the protection of all persons from Enforced Disappearances, as the House commenced its business at the start of 85th Session of the Senate.

Speaking on the resolution, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Malik Ammad Khan said Opposition had expressed reservations over Article 5 (crime against humanity) and Article 6 of the International Convention, however, he said it could be ratified with reservations notes.

Ammad said a group of UN Human Rights Commission on Enforced Disappearances is scheduled to visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20, at the invitation of the Pakistani government.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Human Rights Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar said that the government had no objection to sign the human rights convention. Leader of the Opposition in Senate Ishaq Dar said that the resolution should be sent to the concerned Committee of the House and it should be discussed there. Foreign office and other relevant quarters should also give their input in the Committee and then bring it to the House for voting, he said.

“Do the government wants to trial its Army Chief for crimes against humanity?” Dar questioned. On that Chairman Senate referred the resolution to the concerned Standing Committee of the Senate for detailed deliberations.

Speaking on a point of order Senator Kalsoom Perveen said it was not only Shia Hazaras who are being killed, but everyone living in the province facing the militancy and sectarian killing threat. She said United Nation’s observer group is scheduled to visit the province and before that it recommends deployment of UN peacekeeping forces in Balochistan, the government of Pakistan should take tangible steps to normalise the situation there.

Speaking on the issue of Christian teenaged girl Rimsha Masih, Senator Kamran Michael of PML-N called for initiation of trial under blasphemy charges against local mosque cleric Muhammad Khalid Chisti, who according to his assistant and prayer caller of the same mosque tried to bolster the case against girl by planting pages of Holy Quran among burnt pages allegedly collected from Rimsha Masih.

Haji Adeel of ANP also questioned that on what basis authorities were keeping the girl under detention since evidence against her proved false.  He said in Pakistan some political parties have been established on the basis of religion.

Following that Chairman Senate Nayyar Hussain Bokhari directed Leader of the House in Senate Jehangir Badr to present before the House the detailed report over the incident on Tuesday (today).

Later, the House adjourned to meet again on Tuesday at 10am.