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Govt to summon security forces' chiefs in parliament

20 February, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday agreed to hold a joint sitting of parliament to summon the heads of security forces on the law and order situation, particularly the terrorist attacks against Hazara community in Quetta, on the demand of the opposition in the Lower House of parliament.

"The joint session can be summoned this week or next week after consultation with the prime minister," PPP chief whip Syed Khursheed Shah assured the thinly-attended session of the House on Tuesday when the PML-N's Khawaja Asif insisted that the heads of all the security and intelligence forces should be summoned in the joint sitting to be asked why they have been unable to provide security to the citizens of the country, and especially about the unabated killing of Hazara people in Quetta. The heinous attack in Quetta dominated the proceedings of the House for the second consecutive day by pushing aside a lengthy agenda.

Although chairman of the proceedings, Abdul Ghafoor Chaudhry, appeared interested in taking up the agenda, but he went along with the sense of the House to only debate the Quetta carnage. Emotions ran high as lawmakers expressed grief over the killings in Quetta bomb blast.

Though the opposition PML-N bombarded the ruling PPP for its inability to bring the law and order situation under control, its government in Punjab was also targeted for letting the militants and banned outfits operate freely in the province.

Meanwhile, the legislators in the Upper House parliament on Tuesday deplored the failure of the federal government and the intelligence agencies operating in Balochistan to safeguard the Hazara community despite threats to them.

Senators belong to different political parties condemned the killing of the Hazara community's members in the province. They were of the view that the "monsters" behind the killings were created by the government itself during the Afghan war. The senators demanded the summoning of the officials of law enforcement agencies, ministries of interior and defence to brief the House about the reasons for the intelligence failure in Balochistan.

The Senate started discussion over the adjournment motion of MQM's Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi who, speaking about the perceived apathy of the government over the mass slaughter of Hazara people in a bomb blast on Saturday, said not a single SHO, DSP or anyone else from the law enforcement agencies was suspended over such a big human loss in Balochistan. He said the intelligence agencies were being used for political purposes and they had failed to protest human lives and properties. Mashhadi regretted that even the courts have failed to give exemplary punishment to the terrorists and released those arrested.

He said Quaid-e-Azam wanted a liberal, modern and democratic Pakistan and wanted unity among the citizens of Pakistan, but unfortunately that has not happened in the country. On January 10 as many as 115 people were killed and over 200 had sustained injuries in three explosions in Quetta, but no action had been taken against the officials responsible for maintaining law and order in the province.

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Ishaq Dar said Interior Minister Rehman Malik should be directed to brief the House in camera about the threats being faced by the country and the measures taken to cope with them. Malik has claimed an international conspiracy is being hatched for the destruction of Pakistan. Condemning the killings of Hazara people, he said Pakistan has only one problem – lack of implementation of laws.

Meanwhile, Rafique Rajwana of the PML-N said no one is safe in the country and termed it a government failure. He noted that when there was a similar problem in Sri Lanka, the country's government took appropriate measures and now the government there is running smoothly. Mir Hasil Bizenjo of the Balochistan National Party said that over 3000 people have been killed in Balochistan in the last two and half years, and the victims include 1300 non-Baloch, 850 Baloch and over 1000 Hazaras. He said international connection of the terrorists operating in the province cannot be overlooked.

The senator said law enforcers should be summoned in the House to brief it about the carnage in the province and measures taken to stop the killings. Speaking on the occasion, Awami National Party's (ANP) Senator Haji Adeel said Pakistani law enforcers are capable of overcoming the menace of terrorism, as with their active help Sri Lankan government had managed to exterminate terrorism from their country.

Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) asserted that governor's rule in Balochistan has not helped ensure peace in the province. He said in the last one month a total of 130 people have been killed in the province, 17 had been kidnapped and over 100 were injured. He announced a walkout from the House on the Balochistan carnage. Meanwhile, president's spokesman Farhatullah Babar said killings on such a large scale are a result of law enforcement agencies' negligence.


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