The killing of Osama bin Laden and how Pakistan should handle the various failures that it exposed dominated the Punjab Assembly session on Thursday, though the opposition had requisitioned the session to discuss the distribution of gunny bags for wheat procurement.
Rising on a point of order, Ashraf Sohna of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s demand that a commission headed by a judge investigate the Abbottabad operation was “absurd” and an “insult” to the democratic system.
He said that if the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) insisted on a judicial commission, then it should also investigate who brought Bin Laden and other terrorists to Pakistan, who invited Bin Laden to dinner, who was donated funds by Bin Laden to topple the government of Benazir Bhutto and who handed over Aimal Kansi to the United States.
Sohna said that the PML-N was the only political party in Pakistan not to have been targeted by suicide bombers. He said that Sharif had shown a lack of faith in political forces by demanding a judicial probe.
He said that Sharif should have addressed public gatherings and led rallies against the government instead of pushing for a “third force” in a democratic set up.
Mian Naseer of the PML-N said the nation had not been so shocked by anything since the secession of East Pakistan in 1971.
He said while US Navy SEALs were conducting their raid in Abbottabad, the country’s political leadership and army command were sleeping peacefully.
He said that the PPP-led government should be ashamed for ordering an inquiry led by a serving general. He said that Nawaz Sharif had advised the PPP to “stop polishing the boots of the army”.
He said perhaps the PPP feared a proper investigation because it would point to the president and prime minister. He said that the PPP should constitute a judicial commission within three days.
The PPP’s Hassan Murtaza said it was rich of the PML-N to accuse the PPP of bowing to the army when the latter was always going begging to the generals to put them in power.
He said PML-N leaders fled the country when they got into trouble while the PPP leaders stayed back.
Ali Haider Noor Khan Niazi of the MMA said that the PPP was an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency and backed the PML-N demand for a judicial commission.
Seemal Kamran of the PML-Quaid said that calling for a judicial commission was a sign that the PML-N no longer had faith in democracy. She said that the PML-N had become an orphan after the death of Bin Laden.
Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor of the PML-N said that his party believed that Bin Laden was a terrorist and condemned the PPP for allying with the PML-Q, saying the party had made an alliance with those whom the late Benazir Bhutto had accused of plotting to kill her. He said that Interior Minister Rehman Malik was an agent of foreign intelligence agencies.
He said that when Nawaz Sharif came to power, he would hang the killers of Benazir Bhutto. He said Bhutto’s legacy was now in the hands of “jokers”.
The session started at 4.35pm and was prorogued at 10.20pm.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2011.