The Senate sitting on Monday witnessed mass walkouts as lawmakers berated the lax security setup in Balochistan, and the government’s inability to address the “root causes” of mounting terror which triggered the Quetta carnage on Saturday.
Lawmakers were unanimous in their condemnation of the Hazara killings and their criticism for the state machinery in Balochistan.
“Governor’s rule will never help without cutting at the root causes of terrorism,” said JUI-F Senator Muhammad Khan Shirani, before storming out with senators of his party. “The Hazaras are now seeking the help of the military. Will the military be of any help? Has it been of any help in Waziristan? Will we call in the NATO forces then?”
Senators belonging to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Balochistan National Party (Awami) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also walked out from the house, protesting the unending trend of terror attacks. The walkouts led to adjournment of the House till Tuesday (today). Earlier, Opposition Leader in Senate Ishaq Dar had sought a detailed report from the interior and defence ministries over the security situation in Balochistan and asked the chair for ruling in this regard.
The government has “miserably failed” to protect the lives of the Hazara people, said MQM senator Tahir Mashadi as he walked out of the session.
Kalsum Perveen, a lawmaker hailing from Balochistan, said that the recent terror attack was no less than a “drone attack” on the Hazara community.
“Why action is not taken against the security agencies when you know that they are responsible for the security lapse?” Questioned Senator Zahid Khan of ANP. Other senators expressed astonishment over how 800 kg heavy explosives were carried in an area which was supposed to be under strict security.
Before the outrage over the Quetta carnage, three legislative bills were introduced calling for the establishment of three universities. These include The Dar-ul-Madina International University Islamabad Bill, The South Asian Strategic Stability Institute University Islamabad Bill and The My University Islamabad Bill.
The bills were moved by Senator Saeed Ghani and the chair referred the bills to the concerned standing committee of the House.
The House also passed a resolution recommending that the government take steps to provide housing facilities to all federal government employees through Pakistan Housing Authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2013.