A special parliamentary committee formed to review the law and order situation in Karachi and Balochistan has failed to complete its task within the stipulated period of two months.
The committee had to submit its recommendations to the National Assembly speaker, who had constituted the 17-member body to review the deteriorating law and order situation in the troubled regions on August 28.
The panel had also sought reports from all political parties and law enforcement agencies on the issue. However, no party or department has submitted their report so far.
“There has been no progress towards a solution of these two problems,” said Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour. “We held three meetings to prepare our recommendations so far,” added Bilour, who represents the Awami National Party in the panel.
NA Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza had pinned hopes on the powerful committee saying, “The panel is being evolved in light of strong demands from all political parties to form a consensus on the issue.”
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Noor Alam Khan said, “The Balochistan issue is a hard nut to crack. Intelligence reports had suggested the involvement of foreign hands in the Balochistan unrest.” So, he added, it’s difficult to curb violence in the province in just days or months.
The panel – headed by Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Shah – is aimed at bringing the ‘dissident Baloch’ to the negotiating table. However, his committee, which on its first day decided to hold meetings on a daily basis, could not, ironically, hold a single meeting since October 13. It also could not schedule a visit to Quetta on October 20 -21 and later to Karachi on October 25-26.
Committee members could also not reach any consensus to meet stakeholders that are meant to be a crucial part of the peace making body in the volatile areas of Balochistan.
A new date for the meeting will be announced at the NA session on Monday, said Pakistan Muslim League-N MNA Zahid Hamid. “We are extremely serious about resolving the issue chronic issues.” However, his party is yet to submit its report on the issue, he added.
The NA panel could not conduct its meetings due to the death of the mother of democracy, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, the MNA further said, adding that the chairman of the committee Khurshid Shah was also unavailable as he was in Saudi Arabia for Hajj.
The committee will now seek more time to finalise its recommendations during the upcoming NA session.
The interior ministry partially gave a briefing on the law and order situation in Balochistan, but sought more time to conclude its briefing.
Like other parties, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement also failed to submit its report to the National Assembly. “We are optimistic for a democratic solution of target killings in Karachi and Balochistan,” said MQM MNA Waseem Akhtar.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 13th, 2011.