ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said Monday that the assassination attempt on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal could be a conspiracy to defame religious seminaries.

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in the National Assembly, prior to the budget debate, strongly condemned the assassination attack on the interior minister. The House prayed for the speedy recovery of the interior minister.

Sadiq said that terrorists look for major targets to make headlines. “I will write letters to chief secretaries and inspectors general of all provinces to ensure the security of all parliamentarians and politicians (candidates) ahead of the general election 2018,” said the speaker.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah strongly condemning the attack on the interior minister said that there was a need to seriously look into the matter of the security of the people without any differences. He said that the security of parliamentarians was important. “There is a need to review this matter as the apex court in a decision recently curtailed the security of the lawmakers,” Shah remarked.

Minister for Railways Saad Rafique strongly condemning the attack on Iqbal said that democratic political forces had exhibited unity on the matter. “The politics of abuses should be discouraged, as it leads to politics of bullets,” he said mentioning that they all have to face challenges with unity. This was a mindset of those people, who are distributing certificates of religion, he added.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Shireen Mazari strongly condemning the attack on Iqbal remarked that there was a need to take action against proscribed organisations. “There is a need to conduct an inquiry on the matter,” he said.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Naeema Kishwar said that such incidents should not be linked to any religious seminary or religion. “Suck kind of attacks should not happen prior to polls,” she said mentioning that the lawmakers should be provided with proper security during the elections.

Other lawmakers also strongly condemned the incident and demanded a proper inquiry into the incident.

BUDGET SESSION DEBATE

Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Dr Farooq Sattar taking part in the budget debate asked the government to incorporate budgetary proposals of his party’s shadow budget. “There is a need to compile a charter of socio-economic development,” he said when not more than 10 members from both sides were present in the House.

Dr Sattar said the government should review the raise given to government servants. “The government should increase salaries of public servants up to 20 percent...How can poor people live life in a meagre amount?” said the MQM leader.

The MQM MNA supported the idea of making separate provinces in South Punjab, Hazara and Fata. He said that there were no coherent policies for education, health and environment. He said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz did not give Senate ticket to Miftah Ismail despite his services.

PTI’s Murad Saaed, taking part in the debate, said that his party chief Imran Khan would bring positive changes in the country after taking the rein of the country (in next government).

“Economic challenges, power crisis, unemployment and other related matters of the country will be resolved by the next government,” he said. PML-N’s Major (retd) Tahir Iqbal lauded some budgetary proposals.