While discussing monetary appropriations, the lower house reverted on Monday to a debate on law and order and urged the executive to take solid steps to curb the menace of terrorism.
“We do not have any policy against terrorism except firefighting, which cannot help solve this problem,” said Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr. Shireen Mazari.
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmad said no one was safe even in the places of worship. Referring to the murder of a Sindh Assembly member, he lamented that no one had been arrested so far.
“If law and order is a provincial subject then why does the interior ministry allocate funds that should be available to the provinces?” he asked. Rashid urged that interior ministry should curb corruption in its own departments.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan said terrorists had virtually crippled the country’s economic hub Karachi. He also criticised the role of law enforcing agencies. In response, Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid recalled interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s policy statement and said government in collaboration with all stakeholders would come up with a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy.
“The government will review all laws including anti-terrorism laws and will establish a better coordination among provinces,” Zahid added.
The House also approved with majority vote four demands for grants of Rs 723.54 million to Petroleum and Natural Resources Division and its attached departments and rejected cut motions presented by the opposition.
Debating over the allocations, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said fuel’s short supply to power plants was the reason behind load shedding. He urged the government to work on the findings of a geological survey of Pakistan’s offshore and land resources of oil and gas conducted by China. “If the government can buy expensive gas from Iran; then it can also explore and produce gas from its own territory,” he added.
Concluding the debate, Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said the gas demand of all sectors of economy could not be met at the same time. “In the past the country’s energy needs were deliberately not addressed to serve personal interests: however the government will improve the gas supply situation through a new policy,” he added. Abbasi also told the house that a circular debt of Rs 503 billion would be paid in the second week of August.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2013.