More than two weeks after the National Assembly approved a motion to immediately form an all-parties parliamentary committee to spearhead peace efforts in Karachi, the government still appears to be in no hurry to take the initiative.
A motion passed in the National Assembly after a marathon two-week-long debate on the Karachi situation called upon the government to immediately send a parliamentary body to probe reasons for violence there and suggest a way out.
There is now a debate on the fecundity of such a parliamentary panel and its effectiveness in the wake of ongoing surgical operations against criminals in the city. The house delegated powers of forming the committee to National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza by seeking nominations from all political parties and subsequently set up the panel.
Officials at the National Assembly Secretariat attributed the delay to the absence of Dr Mirza, who is currently on a tour of the flood-hit Badin district, which is her home constituency.
An official at her office said she was now in Karachi and the secretariat had forwarded a list of nominees from all political parties to expedite the formation of the committee. He said political parties had submitted names of their nominees a week ago.
A notification, he added, was expected to be issued in a couple of days, but the panel was unlikely to begin its job immediately because of upcoming Eid holidays.
Finalisation of the committee’s terms of reference would also delay its work.
Some Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) insiders said the delay was not just because of operational reasons.
They saw opposition to the proposal by some key party leaders, including Dr Mirza herself, as a major cause for the delay.
Some of them told The Express Tribune it was only Interior Minister Rehman Malik who had pushed the idea of the formation of the committee in the National Assembly to conclude the debate. The idea of a parliamentary commission for Karachi was first floated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), one of the major stakeholders in the city, also endorsed the proposal, but it was opposed by the Awami National Party.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2011.