ISLAMABAD: Senators on Monday made impassioned speeches to protest what they termed as a nationwide killing spree – target shootings in Karachi, murder of Baloch leaders, suicide blasts at the shrine of revered Sufi Saint Data Ganj Baksh and the killing of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar’s son.
As the upper house began its 63rd session, Dr Abdul Malik of the BNP-Awami said that the slain Baloch leaders Maula Bux Dasti and Habib Jalib were encouraging the Baloch middle class to actively take part in politics. He condemned their murders and warned the PPP-led governments at the Centre and in the province that “either you change your behaviour, or we will change ours”.
Raja Zafar-ul-Haq of the PML-N said the government’s role seemed to have become limited to only issuing condemnations and holding inquiries. He questioned why government inquiries into the target killings in Karachi and Balochistan had failed to produce any results. He also condemned the terrorist strike at the Data Sahib’s Shrine in Lahore.
Abdul Rahim Mandokhel of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party paid rich tributes to the murdered Baloch leader and former senator Habib Jalib Baloch. He said that the government had not yet arrested anyone responsible for any target killing in Balochistan. He demanded that the government submit a report before the house on the findings of its investigations into the killings in Balochistan.
Shahid Bugti of the JWP said that the situation in Balochistan was like that of 1971’s East Pakistan. He said “the government talks of hidden hands all the time. Either the government itself is the hidden hand or it is incapable of controlling the hidden hands”.
Haji Adeel of the ANP paid rich tributes to his party activists “who are being killed by the Taliban”. He said the slain son of the K-P information minister was like his own son. He said “we are fighting terrorism and we will continue to fight even if others are not willing to fight”. He said that the terrorists were products of a military dictator who used them in the name of religion. He also condemned target killings in Karachi and demanded de-weaponization of the port city.
Raza Rabbani of the PPP criticised the interior minister for not being present in the house when such an important debate on the law and order situation in the country was going on. He said the situation had become very critical and called for the formation of a grand national alliance to tackle the challenges being faced by the country. He said there was a trust deficit between the elite and the common people and, because of this, ultra nationalist forces had emerged in Balochistan.
The Senate session will resume Tuesday morning when Interior Minister Rehman Malik will give a statement before the house on the law and order situation.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2010.
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