ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Thursday the Defence Ministry had refused to answer a parliamentarian’s question about former Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan, who is currently under detention of the Pakistani law-enforcement personnel.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Farhatullah Babar had asked if it was a fact that the former spokesperson for the TTP and the Jamaat-ul-Ahrar had publicly claimed responsibility for “several terrorist attacks on security forces, civilians and state institution” in the country.
He had further asked: “If so, the details of those incidents and the number of persons martyred and injured in each of the same; (b) whether any case(s) has been registered against the said person regarding those incidents, if so, the details thereof; and (c) whether the said cases registered against that person will be tried in military courts, if so, when and if not, the reasons thereof?”
The Interior Ministry had received the question on June 13. And during Thursday’s session it informed the Upper House of Parliament it had “transferred this question to the Ministry of Defence. However, the Ministry of Defence has not accepted the question so far”, adding that the “reply is not received”.
Babar had also asked about the security provided to president, prime minister, chief justice of Pakistan, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee and the three services chiefs after the expiry of their terms or retirement.
However, the House was informed about the security protocol provided to the president, the prime minister, and the chief justice only. As for the military personnel’s security, the Interior Ministry merely said that “it is being provided by the Ministry of Defence”.
For the Question Hour on Thursday, there were 45 questions on agenda – 31 from the Interior Ministry. However, neither the minister nor the state minister for the ministry were present. During the session, the House took up only one question.
Babar regretted that most of his questions remained unanswered as interior minister did not attend the session. Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani took notice of the absence of the minister and asked Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq to take up this matter with the Cabinet; otherwise the chair would take action under the House Rules.
Rabbani mentioned that in the last sitting, when most of the questions were related to the Foreign Ministry, the foreign minister was not present in the House. “Their (ministers) attitude is not appropriate and this is why parliament is weak,” Rabbani told Haq.
Soon after the Question Hour, the House took up its scheduled business – related to the water and power. One again, it was pointed out that minister concerned was out of town. This infuriated Rabbani, who abruptly adjourned the sitting.