Prime Minister Imran Khan came under fire in the upper house of parliament over what some opposition lawmakers termed as his refusal to meet with the families of the Machh massacre victims who had been staging a sit-in in Quetta for the last six days.
During the Senate proceedings on Friday, Senator Atta Ur Rehman of the JUI-F said everybody is asking as to why Prime Minister Imran Khan did not commiserate with the Hazara community over the brutal killing of 11 of its members last Sunday.
“The truth is that the premier was not allowed to go to Quetta. When the PM will get the permission [from the powers that be] not only he but all the federal cabinet members will line up to offer condolences to the Hazaras,” he said.
Senator Atta Ur Rehman also claimed that the premier would not visit the victims’ families and advised the Hazara protestors to bury their loved ones.
Hundreds of Hazara community members – including women and children – have been encamped on Quetta’s Western Bypass along with coffins carrying the bodies of the slain colliers for the last six days.
Braving the biting cold, the mourners have refused to leave until the premier visits and the killers are brought to justice. However, Imran Khan on Friday told the mourners that they could not “blackmail” the prime minister of a country like this.
“You bury the bodies today and I’ll be there with you,” the premier said as he once again made an impassioned appeal to the bereaved community to not make burials conditional to his visit.
Taking part in the debate, Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar of the BAP said in the recent past Balochistan has faced numerous terrorist attacks in which scores of innocent people lost their lives. He claimed that few people are politicizing the Machh incident.
“After hearing about the tragic incident, Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal, who was abroad, rushed to the province and met with the protesting mourners,” he said.
Alleged victimization of opposition
Earlier, the Senate witnessed a heated debate about the role of the National Accountability (NAB) in the accountability process as the treasury lawmakers hailed the performance of the anti-corruption watchdog, while the opposition demanded transparency in its affairs.
Senator Waleed Iqbal of the PTI said the Constitution guarantees the fundamental rights of the people and no one is allowed to violate these rights. It is a matter of fact that the previous governments did not amend the NAB related laws in their tenures and the court also did not declare them void, he said.
Quoting an article from a newspaper, Iqbal said NAB recovered Rs141.5 billion in 2019 and its success rate was 68.8% during this period. Since the inception of NAB in 1999, he said, it has recovered Rs470 billion and addressed 400,000 out of 450,000 complaints.
He said 59% of the people in a survey conducted by the Gallup Pakistan expressed satisfaction over the performance of NAB. Senator Behramand Khan Tangi, however, alleged that NAB is being used against the political opponents.
Senator Tahir Bizenjo said NAB officials should also disclose their assets like the prime minister and other parliamentarians. Senator Rubina Khalid said that government officials and businessmen can't tolerate anything against their respect and it is very painful for them to face false NAB accusations.
"We are not against the accountability process but fairness should be ensured," she added.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP)
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ