ISLAMABAD: Legislators in the upper house of the parliament reacted strongly on Friday when a senator pointed out that a textbook titled Sociology of Pakistan described the Baloch as an uncivilised nation who would always quarrel with each other and loot the convoys.
“I don’t know what sort of message has been given to the young generation of Pakistan,” said Balochistan Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi of the National Party (NP).
It is written in the book that the Baloch did not allow the women to go to school or work. Shahi said that uneducated authors of the book should first study the Baloch history and then write a book. He said that insulting a nation in such a way was very dangerous and asked the house to take appropriate action against publishers Abdul Hamid Taga and Abdul Aziz Taga. He informed the house that the book was being taught to the students of intermediate part-II enrolled with different boards of secondary education in Punjab.
The senators were of the view that it was a serious issue and it should not have gone unnoticed. The issue was described as a conspiracy against Pakistan and strict action was sought against the publishers and those who approved the book for the syllabus.
Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani said that changes were made in the textbooks during late General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime and there were hundreds of biased topics in the textbooks being taught to the young generation. He said there was another book, which highlighted 12 merits of dictatorship and eight merits of democracy and tried to establish that a military takeover was inevitable, otherwise the country would have collapsed. He assured the house that the matter would be brought into the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Earlier, the Senate passed a bill, criminalising for the first time sexual assault on minors, child pornography and trafficking. The amendment to the penal code, which would come into effect after its ratification by the president, raises the age of criminal responsibility from seven to 10 years. Under the revised legislation, a sexual assault will be punishable by up to seven years in prison. Previously, only rape was criminalised.
Likewise, child pornography, which was previously not mentioned in the law, will be punishable by seven years in prison and a fine of Rs 700,000. Previously, traffickers were liable to punishment only if they would traffic children abroad. The legislation would help protect the children against any kind of mental and physical abuse.
Voices in support of the missing persons echoed once again in the Senate on Friday. Senator Farhatullah Babar pointed out that the Senate sent a report on rights violations to the government a couple of months ago, but the government did not respond. Rabbani said that he would send the government a reminder to respond to the Senate report.
Babar drew the Senate’s attention to the reports that a disillusioned Islamic State defector reportedly passed a stolen computer disc containing documents identifying more than 20,000 operatives in over 50 countries to a British journalist together with a treasure of rare information about the countries they belonged to, their expertise in carrying out various militant operations and a list of people who had volunteered to act as suicide bombers to further the Islamic State cause. He called for an investigation into this treasure house of information to find out if there are any Islamic State supporters and operators in Pakistan.
Separately, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad told the Senate on Friday that the government wanted to have two airlines to promote competition and provide better travel facilities to people. He said that Pakistan Airways had been registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, but its main features were still being worked out.