Rashid faces tough queries in Senate on terror

Interior minister says inquiry into Lahore blast under way


Our Correspondent January 21, 2022
PHOTO: RP

ISLAMABAD:

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid on Friday faced tough questions from the opposition members during the Senate session — in the wake of the rising incidents of terrorism, particularly the death of three people in a blast in Lahore a day earlier.

The opposition urged the Senate chairman to suspend routine proceedings and hold a discussion on the country's law and order situation following the Lahore blast and the death of a policeman in Islamabad during a shootout.

During the session, the government introduced three ordinances in the House. However, the opposition forced the House to put off the approval of four bills related to legislation.

PPP’s Senator Raza Rabbani noted that the Balochistan Liberation Army had claimed responsibility for one of the attacks.

“While the interior minister had claimed that the TTP [Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan] was behind it, he added.

Rabbani demanded that the minister be summoned to the House to clarify the matter.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui claimed that he had not seen the interior minister in the House for nine months.

Senators Azam Nazeer Tarar and Saadia Abbasi of the same party also backed the demand.

PPP’s Senator Yousuf Raza Gilani, the leader of the opposition in the Senate, noted that they were ready to introduce a motion on the matter but when there is a debate, the interior minister must be present in the House.

The minister, in his brief appearance in the upper house, replied that an investigation was under way into the Lahore blast and nobody would be allowed to dent peace in the country.

Read More: Pak-Afghan border fencing here to stay: DG ISPR

Rashid further informed the House that fencing on 2,680 kilometres of the Pak-Afghan border had been completed. “The remaining area – 21 kilometres – would be completed soon,” he added.

"We are also trying to complete fencing on the remaining 200 kilometres along the Pak-Iran border," the minister added.

The minister further said that for the sake of durable peace, the government was engaged with the TTP on different issues when the police were attacked in Islamabad.

“There were special motives behind the killing of the cop in Islamabad.”

Replying to JUI-F Senator Maulana Ghafoor Haideri, Rashid challenged the opposition to march to Islamabad, saying that that the government was prepared for the move.

“I ask [JUI-F chief] Maulana Fazlur Rehman not to come to Islamabad alone. In fact, he should also bring [PPP chairman] Bilawal [Bhutto Zardari] along with him.”

The minister advised the opposition not to waste its energy as well as that of the police.

The opposition parties later submitted an adjournment motion seeking an explanation from the minister over terrorist attacks in the country.

The chairman told the minister to brief the Senate in this connection and the steps taken by the government on January 24.

Multiple initiatives to tackle stunting, child, issues related to motherhood

Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said the government had started multiple initiatives to tackle stunting and child and mother related issues in the country.

Responding to a question, she said Ehsaas Development Centres will be opened in every district of the country by June this year. She said so far fifty centres have been opened in fifteen districts.

"On the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, a comprehensive Nutrition PC-1 for the entire country including the Federal areas with the title 'tackling malnutrition induced Stunting in Pakistan' has also been prepared," she said.

Three Ordinances were also laid before the Upper House which included; “The National Rehmatul-Lil-Aalameen Authority Ordinance, 2021”, “the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance 2021” and the Pakistan Nursing Council (Emergency Management) Ordinance, 2021”.

The House would now meet again on Monday.

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