ISLAMABAD: Following a judicial commission’s damning report on the August 8 Quetta carnage, opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmakers on Friday demanded that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan be removed from his post.
The PPP also submitted an adjournment motion against Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in the National Assembly Secretariat, claiming that the interior minister was incapable of playing a role in combating terrorism.
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The one-man commission report released by the Supreme Court on Thursday pointed out the ‘monumental failure’ of the interior ministry to combat terrorism.
Based on investigations into the Quetta incident in which 70 people, most of them lawyers, were killed, the report said Nisar ‘displayed little sense of ministerial responsibility’ and that there was a continued delay on part of his ministry to take steps against militant groups and proscribed organisations.
Speaking on the floor of the house on Thursday, PPP legislator Aijaz Jakhrani referred to the judicial commission’s report and demanded that the government either take Nisar’s resignation or remove him from his portfolio.
“Someone else should be entrusted the responsibility of the interior minister instead of Chaudhry Nisar,” Jakhrani said, amid anti-Nisar slogans raised by other parliamentarians belonging primarlily to the PPP.
Quoting the report compiled by the Supreme Court judge Qazi Faez Isa, he said the government had not been able to properly implement the National Action Plan (NAP) adopted to counter the scourge of terrorism after Peshawar’s Army Public School (APS) attack.
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Responding to the PPP’s demand, Railways Minister Saad Rafique defended the interior ministry and said the current ministry’s performance was thousands time better than the previous one, during the PPP’s previous regime. “I know that the PPP has issues with Chaudhry Nisar,” he added, sarcastically.
Twin tragedies remembered
After two consecutive stormy sessions on the Panama Papers controversy, the National Assembly on Friday discussed two national tragedies – the fall of Dhaka in 1971 and the massacre of APS students in 2014 – whose anniversaries fall on December 16.
Talking about the East Pakistan debacle, Saad Rafique questioned the role of some politicians. “The fall of Dhaka was not only a military defeat but it was also a political defeat,” the minister said, referring to surrender of Pakistani forces to Indian military on this day 45 years back.
“Efforts were made to manage the East Pakistan from the West Pakistan as though they [the East Pakistani’s] were subjects. We didn’t learn from the report of Justice Hamoodur Rehman Commission. We have been committing the same mistakes and have never uttered a word of regret,” he said.
He said the Bangladesh Prime Minister Haseena Wajid is violating the tripartite accord by hanging the persons, who loved Pakistan and supported the Pakistan Army. “Pakistan should raise voice for the people being hanged by incumbent Bangladeshi government for siding with Pakistan,” he said.
Murad Saeed of PTI also asked why wasn’t anybody punished over the debacle in Dhaka, especially those held responsible by the Hamoodur Rehman Commission report.
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“Another December 16 (the APS incident) had not occurred if punishment had been awarded under the commission report,” he said. Saeed also demanded punishment for those responsible for the Quetta attack and June 2014 Model Town incidents.
Earlier, the lawmakers offered prayers for the APS attack victims and for the people who died on December 7 plane crash near Havelian.
The house adjourned till Monday after a legislator pointed out the lack of quorum.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 17th, 2016.
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