Regardless of whether or not the Supreme Court will take up the petition calling for a judicial probe into the memogate, and when and if the prime minister comes around to forming his ‘high-level’ committee to look into the matter, the parliamentary panel on national security will be conducting its own investigation.
The bi-partisan and bi-cameral parliamentary committee on national security, chaired by Senator Raza Rabbani, has started by summoning the foreign and defence secretaries to explain the controversy. In its meeting on Friday, held in-camera, the panel said it would also call top officials of security agencies for a briefing.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, Rabbani said the committee would investigate the matter despite investigations by other institutions.
The move came a day after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani promised a ‘fair and transparent’ probe into the memo at the highest level.
Opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has already filed a petition in the Supreme Court, asking that all players involved in the scandal be summoned. The senator from the Pakistan Peoples Party also praised Ambassador Hussain Haqqani for travelling back to Pakistan to make himself available for investigations.
According to participants, opposition members were not satisfied with the government handling of the issue and called for more transparency.
The committee also decided to seek an explanation from the defence secretary on a statement by the air chief that more than 10,000 strikes against alleged militants’ hideouts in tribal areas had achieved only 15 to 20 per cent results despite huge collateral damage.
Rabbani said that if the defence secretary could not satisfy the committee on the statement, it would summon Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman to explain it himself.
(Read: Our civil-military contradictions)
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2011.
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