The Senate panel on defence has demanded that the government make the findings of the Abbottabad Commission public and place them before the Parliament for discussion.
Discussing contents of the commission’s leaked report on Wednesday, the Senate standing committee on defence also asked the government to explore ways to implement the recommendations of the commission urgently.
Members of the panel, while calling for making the report public, noted that the information made available should include the 40-page ‘note of dissent’ prepared by Abbottabad Commission member Ashraf Jahangir Qazi.
Following the discussion, the committee members decided to hold a public hearing on ‘intelligence and intelligence reform’ soon after Eidul Fitr.
The classified 337-page report was leaked by Al Jazeera TV last week. Apart from several revelations pertaining to the nature of Osama bin Laden’s stay in Pakistan, the report contained a scathing indictment of the country’s law enforcement, security and intelligence apparatus for their ignorance of both the al Qaeda chief’s presence in the country and the subsequent raid by US special forces that led to his death.
Officials have played down the leak, insisting the report obtained by Al Jazeera was a draft and not the final version. Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed, meanwhile, had announced the government’s intentions to investigate the leak.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, committee chairman Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed announced the panel will prepare its own set of recommendations pertaining to national security and counter-terrorism after deliberating thoroughly the Abbottabad Commission’s findings.
“There should not be any blame game or finger-pointing against certain individuals or institutions,” he stressed. “Instead, we should endeavour to examine the causes of what the commission termed a ‘collective failure’ to ensure such wrongs are reversed and do not recur.”
Meanwhile, the committee passed a resolution lauding the induction of female paratroopers in the Pakistan Army and termed it a ‘positive step in promoting gender equality within the armed forces’. Women will now play an active role, alongside men, to defend the motherland, the committee members noted while passing the resolution moved by Senator Sehar Kamran.
The committee also expressed its concern over the controversy surrounding the head of the newly-created Aviation Division. Taking up the issue based on media reports, the panel also expressed displeasure over allegations of a conflict of interest in the creation of the division.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2013.
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