Senate proceedings: Security policy comes under fire

Govt’s stance over incidents of violence criticised.


Our Correspondent April 23, 2014
A file photo of the Senate. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:


Debate in the Upper House of the Parliament remained heated as the government’s National Internal Security Policy came under fire on Tuesday, with Senators staging a walkout to protest a surge in incidents of violence in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P). 


During the Zero Hour, ANP Senator Afrasiab Khattak stressed that while government functionaries were ‘busy conducting dialogue’ they had ignored K-P, which has been engulfed by violence. “Not a single member from the largest cabinet has visited the families of these slain policemen nor has there been any condemnation,” he said in reference to the recent blasts there.

Expressing his concerns, the senator said that it was demoralising for security officials to not be backed by the people they serve.

He added that it seemed the government was backtracking from its earlier statement of responding to any attacks by militants.

In support, PPP senator Raza Rabbani stated that the incumbent government was looking for a ‘black cat in a dark room’.

Taking a critical view of the security policy the PPP leader said that the government had to formulate the first security policy in a month but even its most important National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) was a ‘non-starter’ since there was opposition within the bureaucracy and intelligence agencies on the powers allotted to it. While the National Crisis Management Cell was merged into Nacta and an officer had gone to court on how it was an office working under the prime minister, it has now has been transferred to the interior ministry.

Rabbani said that the non-seriousness of the government was evident from the fact that a BPS-20 officer was appointed as the National Coordinator while the requirement under the act was a BPS grade 22 officer.

“The government says we cannot counter the attacks because no one has claimed them,” added the senator. In response to this, Haji Adeel of ANP said that it seemed that K-P was not part of Pakistan and that the province was left at the mercy of militants.

He then staged walked out followed by the rest of the opposition.

The amendment bill 2014 to further amend  the Service Tribunal Act of 1973 was also laid in the house by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab, which was opposed and referred to the select committee to bring back to the house in two weeks.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2014.

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