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Bishops ask Pakistan govt to diffuse political tension

Prelates appeal for dialogue as Imran Khan's government faces a no-confidence vote
Bishops ask Pakistan govt to diffuse political tension

Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is accused of mismanaging the country. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 19, 2022 06:20 AM GMT
Updated: March 19, 2022 06:20 AM GMT

The Pakistan Catholic Bishops’ Conference (PCBC) has called for political dialogue as Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government faces a no-confidence vote sought by the opposition.

In a March 16 statement, the PCBC expressed its “deep concern” over the growing tension between the government and opposition.

The opposition parties criticize Khan for inflation, mismanaging the country and foreign policy. No Pakistani prime minister has ever completed his term in office.

The bishops appealed to the political leadership to restrain from confrontation and ease the tense political atmosphere by resolving the matter through dialogue.

They invited both the government and opposition “to take measures to ensure that the political temperature of the country is diffused and work together for the peace, harmony and progress of the country.”

On March 10, Islamabad police stormed parliament lodges and made 19 arrests including key opposition members of the National Assembly.

"HRCP is revolted by Gill's crass choice of words for his colleague on national television. What should have been a civilized debate on a politically critical issue crumbled into a litany of abuse"

The authorities claimed to have cleared the building of activists of Ansarul Islam, a uniformed volunteer force of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, one of Pakistan’s largest Islamic parties. They were released the next day.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Political Communications Shahbaz Gill verbally abused National Assembly member Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, a Hindu, in a live television show on March 17.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) condemned the politician for using foul language.

“HRCP is revolted by Gill's crass choice of words for his colleague on national television. What should have been a civilized debate on a politically critical issue crumbled into a litany of abuse,” the commission stated in a March 17 tweet.

“This is no way represents freedom of expression and the anchor should not have brushed the abuse aside as Mr. Gill’s temper. With the media already hemmed in on so many fronts, we cannot afford to let the office of the editor and anchor become bait rather than direction."

Akmal Bhatti, chairman of the Minorities Alliance Pakistan, agreed. “It is unfortunate that so-called loyalists abused a minority representative parliamentarian. He was victimized for being a Hindu,” he told UCA News.

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