Govt opens PTI’s old wounds, refuses talks with terrorists

NA speaker suspends membership of two SIC members – Jamshed Dasti and Iqbal Khan

Rizwan Shehzad   April 19, 2024
Federal Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar addressing a National Assembly session on Friday, April 19, 2024. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/NATIONAL ASSEMBLY


The treasury benches opened old wounds of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) – now Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) – on Friday when it reminded the National Assembly that it was the PTI government which had allowed resettlement of terrorists in Pakistan during its tenure and exposed citizens to terrorism once again.

The government, however, made it clear that there will be no talks with the terrorist organisations and they will be given a dose of their own medicine. “With absolute clarity, the government has decided that there will be no talks with terrorists,” Federal Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar said on the floor of the house. “The terrorist will be paid back in their own coins.”

The law minister reminded the house that the then PTI government had arranged a security briefing in parliament and, subsequently, allowed resettling of thousands of terrorist in the country, who had been pushed out by the police, army, and people of Pakistan. “The citizens of Pakistan were once again exposed to terrorists,” the law minister regretted.

Before and after the elections, parties included in the PML-N-led coalition have strongly criticised the terrorist resettlement policy of the PTI government and called for a comprehensive inquiry into the release of outlawed individuals associated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

They have also questioned the decision to invite them to settle in the tribal areas of the country by former prime minister Imran Khan, who is currently in jail and facing multiple cases.

Recently, Pakistan has seen a surge in terrorist attacks, including on Chinese nationals, and the government and the security forces have since been devising strategies to protect people and defeat terrorism.

The law minister said that the government has a zero-tolerance policy, saying the security institutions along with federal and provincial governments were fighting against terrorists. He said that the officials of the security forces were laying down their lives to protect citizens and homeland.

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To a question, Tarar said the Balochistan government is taking steps to punish terrorists involved in Noshki incident and federal government is extending all help to the provincial government through various institutions whenever and wherever it is required.

Efforts are underway to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorist organisations, he said, adding the federal government agencies are on their toes to support the provincial governments, including in their operations against dacoits of Kacha areas. The law minister said that Pakistan is facing terrorism for the past four decades and the issue will take time to resolve.

In response to different questions, the law minister reiterated that the federal government through ministry of interior will continue to provide support to the provincial governments within the bound of law and rules to combat against terrorism.

Responding to another question, Tarar said that the government takes up issues at appropriate forum when there is solid evidence and credible information of involvement of any foreign element in terrorist incident. He also said that it was up to Afghanistan how it wants to have a relationship with any other country when his attention was drawn toward Afghan-India ties.

Meanwhile, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Attaullah Tarar drew house’s attention towards a statement of PTI official against Saudi Arabia when he alleged that the kingdom was also involved in the alleged regime change operation when PTI government was ousted.

The information minister said that there have been multiple statements from the PTI officials regarding friends of Pakistan, saying one official says something and the party issues a rebuttal to it, recalling PTI has earlier accused the US of ousting it from power in April 2022 before taking a U-turn on it.

Tarar accused ex-PM Imran Khan of habitually playing with foreign policy, alleging he compromised on the confidential system of diplomatic corps when discussed cypher in public.

Friday session also saw suspension of two members of SIC, Jamshed Ahmed Dasti and Mohammad Iqbal Khan. NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said that they have used abusive language, approached the dice of the speaker in a threatening manner, blew whistles and trumpet which has never happened in parliament before, chanted objectionable slogans, displayed banner and placards, indulged in rowdy behaviour and eroded sanctity of the house.

The speaker said that Dasti and Khan violated Rule 30 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007. Subsequently, Sadiq while accusing two members of disregarding authority of the speaker and obstructing proceedings put a question to the house if Dasti and Khan be suspended for the remainder of the session for now.

The house voted in favour of suspension of the two SIC members.

Amidst the proceedings, two newly elected members of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), Pir Zahoor Hussain Qureshi and Sadaf Ahsan, were sworn in. However, objections from JUI-F members arose regarding the oath-taking of Sadaf Ahsan, disputing her nomination for the reserved seat. Speaker Sadiq responded, citing the Election Commission of Pakistan's notification as the basis for administering the oath to Ahsan.

The speaker then adjourned the session to meet again on April 27 at 5pm.


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