- PDM government’s female ministers supported Hina Rabbani Khar.
- JI’s Abdul Akbar Chitrali slammed Khar over Afghanistan visit.
- Later, he apologised over his remarks.
Women members of the National Assembly (MNAs) from the treasury benches voiced support for State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar after Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) MNA Abdul Akbar Chitrali criticised her on the recent Afghanistan visit.
Chitrali, however, offered an apology for his remarks about Khar on the floor of the lower house, saying his comments were taken in a negative context as he did not mean what his colleagues understood.
The JI leader said that he was not against any female minister, but he believed that the government should have included some tribal elders in the Khar-led delegation that visited Afghanistan.
The MNA claimed that the state minister was sent to the neighbouring country, but it had no favourable impact. Chitrali said that Pakistan’s consulate in Afghanistan was attacked by terrorists after Khar’s visit. “Such attacks from Afghanistan’s border are currently taking place on a daily basis.”
He proposed sending a delegation to Afghanistan to investigate the causes of cross-border violence.
The JI leader raised a question as to who are the people who want to widen the divide as Pakistan and Afghanistan are two brotherly countries.
In response, Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Shazia Marri condemned Chitrali’s remarks in the strongest terms on the floor of the house.
The PPP leader said Khar’s visit to Afghanistan had given a positive message to the world and she had result-oriented meetings with the Afghan government.
Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman asked JI’s lawmaker to respect the ideology of other political parties instead of imposing his personal ideas on others as it was the “beauty and norm of democracy”.
Quoting the example of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, the minister said she was the first elected woman prime minister of Pakistan and was highly praised across the globe.
Referring to the incumbent government, she said: “We, being the coalition partners, are on one page and Khar’s visit to Afghanistan has projected the soft image of Pakistan.”
Senator Rehman said that no gender-based discrimination exists in today’s world as people are respected based on their deeds and performance.
“All women, including Hina Rabbani Khar, are excelling internationally and they will continue to do so,” she maintained.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said all parliamentarians should acknowledge the competency of women ministers, who had been appointed on merit.
She said the Taliban rulers had no problem negotiating with Khar, who had taken up Pakistan’s concerns very well during her trip to Kabul.
The information minister said that she respected Maulana Chitrali and also expected him to respect his fellow women parliamentarians.
She reiterated that Khar had been assigned responsibilities as a cabinet member on merit.
Right from Fatima Jinnah to Kulsoom Nawaz and Najma Hameed, she said, the women had given sacrifices to strengthen democracy in the country. They were all pride of Pakistan, she added.
About the recent Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference, Marriyum said Khar was the only woman minister among 48 countries, which was an honour for Pakistan.
Federal Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif said that people should be judged on their performance — not because they are of a specific gender. “The remarks were uncalled for.”