ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid on Thursday urged that Mina stampede tragedy should neither be politicized, nor it should be used for political point scoring.
Responding to a point of order raised by Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan, the minister said that pictures and other information of all `Shuhada’ have already been placed at the website and process to trace the missing Hujjaj was underway.
The minister informed the Senate that the government was fully cognizant of its responsibility and the Prime Minister had already announced that relatives of Mina tragedy would be fully facilitated to visit Saudi Arabia once Hajj period ends.
The minister said that on the directives of the Prime Minister, the Religious Affairs Minister was still in Saudi Arabia and he would remain there till return of all Pakistani Hujjaj.
He said that there were no divisions between both aisles the House over Mina tragedy and the whole house was equally grieved.
Rejecting the claim of the opposition leader, the minister said that the prime minister had paid Rs 4 million income tax this year.
He said that since its inception, the incumbent government took pragmatic steps to fully facilitate the Hujjaj. The Hujjaj were not only fully satisfied with the steps taken by the
government but they also publicly acknowledged and lauded the government’s efforts during Hajj operation.
He said that even this House and the private media also appreciated the efforts of the government for providing exemplary services to the Hujjaj.
Regarding PEMRA directives to the television channels, Pervaiz Rashid said no formal directives were issued to them with reference to Mina tragedy. However, keeping in view
diplomatic relations between the two brethren countries, a humble request was forwarded to the channels to remain cautious on the issue.
He said the leader of the opposition must be fully aware about the laws and also be well aware about Saudi’s Hajj regulations under which the intending Hujjaj sign agreement with the Kingdom for burying them in the holy land in case of their death.
He said majority of relatives of Hujjaj also wished to bury their near and dear ones in the holy land.
The minister said that efforts were made at diplomatic level to repatriate bodies of deceased Hajis on the request of their relatives. He also quoted example of the nephew of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, whose dead body was shifted to Pakistan.