The Awami National Party (ANP) has demanded the government disclose the findings of an investigation into the presence of al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and hold a debate in parliament on it.
“I call upon the government to make the Abbottabad Commission report public or at least share it with lawmakers in an in-camera session,” said ANP’s Bushra Gohar while addressing the National Assembly on a point of order on Thursday.
The commission had been assigned to investigate the facts surrounding the presence of bin Laden in Pakistan and the May 2, 2011 US operation that killed him, determine the causes and nature of lapses by the Pakistani authorities that led to the incident and make recommendations.
The commission’s chairman, Justice (retd) Javed Iqbal, shared the panel’s findings with the government earlier this month. Now Gohar is pressing for the parliamentarians to also be briefed, especially given that the commission was formed in an in-camera joint parliamentary session.
“I fear this report will be dumped like many others on [other] issues,” Gohar said while talking to The Express Tribune.
New provinces, Balochistan
Thursday’s proceedings were once again dominated by debate on the creation of new provinces and Balochistan. Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz highlighted Balochistan’s woes in his speech, while his colleague Shireen Arshad Khan censured the government for what he said was politicking over new provinces.
“The government does not know how to address the problems of the provinces but knows well how to use the gun to find temporary solutions,” Baloch said.
Maulvi Asmatullah, another MNA from Balochistan, complained the government was not implementing a package announced for his province. He demanded the teachers on contract be given permanent jobs.
Earlier, during question hour, Minister of State for Finance Saleem Mandviwalla revealed that more than half of the current fiscal year’s Rs1.5 trillion budget had been spent in six months – significantly more than the 40% half-year spending ceiling aimed at ensuring fiscal discipline. The government spent Rs662 billion more than its income in six months, the written reply added.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik informed the house that Rs16.96 billion had been spent on security arrangements in the Islamabad Capital Territory.
The government spent Rs4.85 billion on Islamabad’s security during the fiscal year 2011-12, Rs4.45 billion in 2010-11, Rs3.74 billion in 2009-10, Rs2.24 billion in 2008-09 and Rs 1.66 billion in 2007-08.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2013.