The government on Thursday attempted to defer a discussion on the US operation in Abbotabad with no effect. The issue not only ignited a ‘hot’ debate in the upper house of Parliament but a barrage of questions, suggestions and calls for accountability from the lawmakers expressed their smouldering anger very well.
Leader of the House Nayyer Hussain Bokhari resisted a proposal floated by Senator Professor Khursheed, Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Mir Hasil Bizenjo and Dr Khalid Mehmood Soomro which called for a discussion on the US operation. Bokhari said that debate over President Zardari’s address to a joint session of the parliament had primacy as the debate had not been concluded during the last session.
Senator Raza Rabbani, Law Minister Moula Bux Chandio and Sabir Baloch came to Bokhari’s rescue, reminding the legislators that a discussion on the presidential address cannot be superseded. Senator Tariq Azim and Jamal Leghari of the government’s new ally- the PML-Q – however said no one was interested in discussing the president’s speech.
Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali, who was administering the proceedings, decided in favour of the motion and taking the lead, Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N lamented over the government’s lukewarm response in clarifying a number of ambiguities surrounding the incident. “Either the president or the prime minister should have had taken the nation into confidence but it did not happen,” he said.
Referring to the US statement that Osama bin Laden could have managed to escape if Pakistanis were informed about the operation he said, “This is a declaration of a complete lack of trust,” adding that Pakistan’s economy is paying a huge price for being a part of the war against terrorism.
Dar also hit out hard at the Indian Army chief’s claim of being capable of conducting a similar surgical strike, but put a question mark over the capability of intelligence agencies who apparently had no clue about the US operation. He urged the government to come up with a strategy to which he pledged his party’s support.
Senator Raza Rabbani of the PPP termed the operation a challenge to the country’s territorial sovereignty and said that the entire nation has pinned its hope on the parliament. “It is the duty of the parliament to dig out the reasons behind such a big failure,” he said. Rabbani also urged the government to implement a joint resolution adopted by the parliament which recommended an immediate review of the national security policy.
Commenting on the CIA chief’s statement that Pakistan was either Osama bin Laden’s accomplice or incompetent, he said, “Can I ask the CIA chief if his agency was incompetent for not stopping the 9/11 attacks despite having information?”
Senator Abdul Rasheed said that over 30,000 Pakistani civilians have lost their lives, millions have been forced to migrate in addition to the sacrifices made by law enforcement agencies in the war against terror during the last ten years but Pakistan has still been declared a “non-trustworthy” ally.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2011.