ISLAMABAD - The Lower House of the Parliament Friday passed a unanimous resolution endorsing the resolution already passed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) against the use of drone attacks, in the absence of the two major opposition parties who continued their boycott of the session. The resolution moved by Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Chaudhry Birjees Tahir called upon the US government to immediately end drone strikes in Pakistan, in the light of the UNGA resolutions, which were against the international law.  It also appreciated the efforts of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif-led federal government that caused the adoption of the resolution against the use of drone strikes in UNGA.  When the House resumed its proceedings after its suspension for more than one hour due to lack of quorum point out by a PTI lawmaker, Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Awais Ahmed Leghari of PML-N was the first one who proposed that a resolution should come from the House in favour of UNGA resolution.

Speaking on a point of order, he welcomed the UN resolution against the drone strikes and appreciated the role of the incumbent government in this connection. Former interior minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao was sceptical about the fate of the UN resolution saying let us see whether the resolution would be implemented in its letter and spirit.

Sajid Ahmed of MQM, Sabzada Tariqullah of JI, Kishwar Zehra of JUI-F and others members also welcomed the UN resolution terming it a positive sign to end the US drone attacks in Pakistan and hoped it should be implemented.

Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the two major opposition parties, continued their boycott of the session for the third consecutive day as a protest over the remarks of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan against the latter. He had used the word ‘tamasha’ (fun) for PTI saying it made a fuss (tamasha) of the thumb impression verification of the votes cast in general elections. They are demanding of the minister to withdraw his statement.

However, the interior minister remained stuck to his earlier stance that he would not withdraw the word used against PTI and again said on the floor of the House that it was not an un-parliamentary word at all. “This word (tamasha) has been used in the assemblies of the country for hundreds of times but no one ever objected,” he said adding that the two parties were insisting to withdraw it for no reason, first time in the parliamentary history of Pakistan.

He criticized both the parties for protesting, what he said a useless issue, instead of discussing other challenges in the House being faced by the country. He informed that chair that he did not want to wind up the on-going debate on law and order in the absence of the opposition and wanted to conclude it in the next session. He said that he wanted to talk about the upcoming internal security policy and other matters on law and order situation.  He said that those who were on a protest would also receive travelling and duty allowances for the session.

The minister asserted that the government never interfered in the thumb impression verification process of NADRA. “What I did on this issue, it was just only to satisfy the opposition,” he clarified before the House was prorogued.

Earlier, State Minister for National Health Services and Regulations Saira Afzal Tarar, responding to a call attention notice moved by Zahra Wadood Fatemi‚ said that Pakistan was amongst the three countries where polio virus still exist.

She said that the law and order situation in FATA was hampering the government’s efforts in polio eradication. “Taliban have imposed ban on polio vaccination campaigns in South and North Waziristan agencies and due to this reason last 12 polio campaigns could not be conducted there,” she informed the House.