Lawmakers in the lower house demanded on Tuesday an explanation from the government over Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s claims about the looming danger Karachi faced in the coming month.
Malik had warned of serious terrorist attacks in Karachi in February, saying if the port city was “detached from the country,” the government and the intelligence agencies would be responsible. He hinted that some ‘foreign elements’ were behind the conspiracy but denied commenting further.
“Tell us what is going to happen in Karachi during the first week of February,” said MNA Lt General (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch referring to Malik’s claims.
Baloch, who belongs to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, was the first person who sought an explanation from the government but was soon joined by other lawmakers. Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, however, said the interior minister himself would respond to their questions.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Waseem Akhtar and PML-Q’s Ghous Bux Khan Mahar also demanded an explanation from the government over Malik’s remarks.
“The minister should have had consulted us before making such statements, which have made people of Karachi restless,” said Akhtar.
Baloch also sought an explanation over the statement of Senator Raza Rabbani who said on Monday that there were conspiracies against the system.
Debate on new provinces
Members from both side of the isle once again advocated for their parties’ policies in regard to creation of new provinces in the country.
Abdul Qadir Gilani from the Pakistan Peoples Party asked the PML-N not to play a “spoiler role” and, instead, help the government and the people of Southern Punjab get what they want. “Otherwise, we will hold a long march in Lahore,” he warned.
While talking about the proposed name of the province (Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab) and the opposition’s reservations over it, he said, “We are not concerned with the name even if it is Israel or India, we want to get rid of the rulers of Lahore.”
Humair Hayat Khan Rokhri from the PML-N said that people of his district of Mianwali were on a strike against their inclusion in the proposed province and warned of a more intense protest if any move was made without their consent.
“We are being dragged into the new province but we do not want to be part of it,” he said.
Sardar Bahadur Ahmed Sehar from the PML-Q, however, said that opposition was distorting historical facts and their point of view did not reflect wishes of the masses.
Dr Farooq Sattar from the MQM said his party was in favour of creation of a Hazara province and was ready to negotiate with Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan. He urged other political parties not to miss the opportunity of carving out new provinces in Punjab saying “it would be difficult for the next parliament to have a two-thirds majority for the cause while paying homage to Punjab Assembly for passage of resolutions for two new provinces.”
Meanwhile, the JUI-F once again staged a walkout against the imposition of governor’s rule in Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2013.