The government’s game face was appreciated and encouraged by friends and foes in the upper house of parliament alike, despite scepticism on how long the countenance would last.
The Senate on Friday condemned the Nato air raid in Mohmand Agency, through a unanimously passed resolution, but most members doubted that if the government could sustain its stance.
The resolution, moved by Leader of the Opposition Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, urged the government “to resist and implement parliamentary resolutions of October 22, 2008 and November 13, 2011.”
“It is an attack on sovereignty and integrity of the country and entire nation is grieved,” the resolution stated, adding that the “barbaric act is intolerable and the excuse of misunderstanding would not be accepted since this airstrike is not the first of its kind.”
Earlier, Senate Chairman Farooq H Naek suspended the agenda of the session when members requested for a debate over the memo scandal and Nato attack. The house started with prayers for the soldiers who lost their lives in the Nato attack.
Shoring support for the govt
Support was also voiced for the president, with Haji Muhammad Adeel of the government’s allied Awami National Party (ANP) saying his party will “fight against the establishment” and conspiracies to derail the democratic system.
“There should be an investigation into the memo scandal, but it should not be used against democracy,” the ANP leader said. “We will support the government and President Asif Ali Zardari to complete their tenure,” he added.
The senator also asked for investigation into the Inter-Services Intelligence chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s visit to the UK, to meet Mansoor Ijaz, the self-proclaimed whistleblower in the memo scandal: “Did he visit the UK with prime minister’s approval or does a parallel government exist here?”
Adeel also urged the Supreme Court to summon Ijaz and retrieve the record of his alleged Blackberry conversation with former Pakistan’s ambassador to US, Hussain Haqqani.
The senator also called for an investigation into the non-responsiveness of the country’s defence in the face of aggression, including the Abbottabad operation, the PNS Mehran attack, and the recent Nato attack in Mohmand Agency.
Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl urged the government to remain steadfast over its decision of boycotting the Bonn conference.
“We endorse the government’s decision but do not know whether it will maintain the stance,” Haideri said. He demanded the government to ask the US to vacate four other airbases: the Shahbaz airbase in Sindh, the Khalid airbase in Balochistan and two other bases in Dalbandin and Pasni.
Senator Salim Saifullah Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Likeminded faction also urged the government to remain steadfast and take the political leadership into confidence.
Decision on Bonn ‘irreversible’
In a formal refusal to her German counterpart, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar called her German counterpart Guido Westerwelle to “apprise him of the decision of the government of Pakistan not to participate in the Bonn conference on Afghanistan.”
Khar also spoke to British Foreign Secretary William Hague and apprised him of Pakistan’s decision. Hague expressed UK’s “understanding of Pakistan’s position on the matter,” a foreign office statement said. Earlier, while addressing the media outside parliament, Khar said that the “decision to boycott the [Bonn conference] is irreversible.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2011.