Islamabad: Pakistani Parliamentarians were
left stunned when a lawmaker led a prayer for slain al Qaeda
chief Osama bin Laden in the National Assembly despite being
told by Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi not to do so.
Maulvi Asmatullah, an independent candidate from Zbob in
Balochistan province, stood up in the lower house of
Parliament yesterday and said lawmakers should pray for bin
Laden, who was killed by US commandos in a unilateral raid on
his hideout in Abbottabad near here on May 2.
Two lawmakers from the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam from
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province -- former federal minister Attaur
Rehman, the younger brother of JUI chief Maulana Fazlur
Rehman; and Laiq Muhammad Khan -- as well as Minister of State
for Health Shahjehan Yousaf of the PML-Q and PPP
parliamentarian Sher Muhammad Baloch participated in the
`fateha` prayer that lasted about a minute.
Deputy Speaker Kundi, who was administering the
proceedings, could not convince the lawmakers to stick to the
rules of business.
"What you are doing? I did not give you permission,"
Before offering the prayer for bin laden, Asmatullah
said: "The Americans claim they allowed the last rites for
Osama bin Laden to be performed according to Islamic values.
So it is proper for us to pray for bin Laden also."
The scene stunned most lawmakers who were in the House
and members of the treasury benches looked on helplessly,
media reports said today.
Asmatullah broke away from the JUI party last year and
formed his own party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Nazriati.
Asmatullah`s party had organised the first major protest
in Quetta after the killing of bin Laden.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said in Parliament
that the elimination of bin Laden was "justice done" though
Pakistan would retaliate with "full force" if the US or any
other country tried to conduct a raid similar to the one that
killed the al Qaeda leader.
In a separate development in Balochistan province, five
ministers from the ruling PPP have demanded the immediate
expulsion of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam from the provincial
Cabinet for promoting terrorism by supporting the Taliban.
PPP Minister Mir Sadiq Umrani raised the matter in the
Provincial Assembly yesterday and walked out of the House
after accusing the JUI of being involved in terrorism.
Umrani was joined by four other PPP ministers.