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Saudi Arabia negligence in Hajj tragedy: Senate criticized

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SENATE

ISLAMABAD:(APS) Oct 5,2015-The ‘carelessness of Saudi authorities’ during the Mina stampede, which had resulted in the death of more than 700 pilgrims, was strongly criticised by some Senators in the Upper House of Parliament on Monday.

Senator Usman Kakar, strongly criticised Saudi officials over “their failure to facilitate pilgrims despite earning billions of dollars”. He also blamed Saudi officials for their ‘carelessness’.

Minister of State for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Pir Aminul Hasnat Shah updated the Senate regarding the details of the Mina stampede.

Shah said that as soon as the stampede occurred officials of Pakistan Haj commission had managed to rescue 23 people, who were shifted to the Pakistani High Commission for medical treatment. He added that Saudi security personnel later arrived at the scene and cordoned off the Pakistani High Commission, preventing its staff from carrying out further rescue efforts.

Shah expressed the hope that Saudi Government would share facts which would emerge after investigation of the incident.

The state minister claimed that the number of Pakistani pilgrims martyred in the stampede stood at 76 while 47 are reported injured.

Shah further said that there are still sixty Pakistani pilgrims who are missing and their data is available with the ministry. He added that the data could be presented in the House if needed.

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Rabbani comes clear on MQM resignations

Later during the session, Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani announced his ruling regarding the resignations of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) members.

In his ruling Rabbani added references from the law and the Constitution to his ruling to justify his act of not accepting the resignations the MQM members had submitted on Aug 12.

Rabbani while giving his arguments for not accepting the resignations immediately, maintained that the Chairman Senate and Speaker of National Assembly cannot perform their duties like a post office official

“It is our responsibility to check whether the legislators and senators gave their resignations voluntarily or not, the documents can be scrutinised”

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart added that the Constitution of Pakistan does not allow him to accept the resignations without proper verification or scrutiny.

Leader of the opposition in senate Chaudhry Aitzan Ahsan had raised the issue of MQM resignations in the house on September 16 demanding the chairman to apprise the members regarding MQM senators’ status after their resignations.

MQM lawmakers on August 22 had simultaneously submitted their resignations in the National Assembly, Senate and the Sindh Assembly citing reservations over the Rangers-led operation in Karachi.

The decision on the resignations is also pending in the National Assembly as well as the Sindh Assembly.

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