The aftermath of the attack: Opposition demands CM’s resignation, House condemns shooting

MPAs question poor performance of the police, ask for appointment of home minister


Hafeez Tunio May 15, 2015
Opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hassan speaks at the Sindh Assembly session on Friday, May 15, 2015. PHOTO: RASHID AJMERI/EXPRESS

KARACHI: While opposition MPAs called for the resignation of the Sindh chief minister in the wake of Wednesday's bus attack at Safoora Chowrangi, the assembly unanimously adopted a joint resolution condemning the tragedy on Friday.

The entire session was devoted to discussion of the incident and the pre- and post-budget debate was deferred till Monday. The opposition also demanded the appointment of a fully-fledged home minister - an idea also endorsed by some treasury members - and highlighted the poor performance of the law enforcers.

"The captain of the targeted operation [CM Qaim Ali Shah] is missing in this House. Where is he?" asked Khawaja Izharul Hassan, the leader of the opposition, saying that there were allegations that the provincial government was run by someone other than Shah. "If he is not the CM, who runs Sindh as the de facto CM? If the incumbent CM cannot deliver, he should resign."

Sindh information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said that demanding Shah's resignation was irrational. "Why did you not demand the resignation of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's CM after the Army Public School attack in Peshawar? Why did you not demand the resignation of the Punjab CM after the Model Town incident?"

Memon said that a high-level committee had been formed to investigate the deadly attack that claimed the lives of 45 people. Claiming that the police will soon make public the motives behind the attack, he added that foreign involvement cannot be ruled out.

Condemning the attack, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislator Khurram Sher Zaman said that the Ismaili community had played a vital role in the Pakistan Movement. "The terrorists have started attacking soft targets because they are frustrated," he said. Alleging the involvement of Indian spy agency Research and Analysis Wing, he pointed out that the incident will not have been possible without the support of local people.

Police performance

Questioning the performance of the police, Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) leader Nusrat Seher Abbasi pointed out that the checkpost near the attack site was lying idle. "The police vans have no fuel, the cops have been deployed on VVIP duty - how can law and order be maintained in the provincial capital in this scenario?" she wondered, adding that 8,000 policemen out of 25,000 deputed in Karachi were assigned for the security of VVIPs.

Meanwhile, Muttahida Qaumi Movement parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said that there was a lack of coordination between the police, Rangers and intelligence agencies that must be addressed. He demanded the formation of a parliamentary committee to assess the needs of the police.

Acknowledging that Sindh's law and order situation was not ideal, Memon said that the Sindh government had made more effort than the other provinces to deal with terrorism. "Many religious organisations and their seminaries are nurseries of militants but we are monitoring them," he claimed, adding that the police and Rangers had killed and arrested many militants.

"I assure the House that 90 per cent of Sindh's police officers have been appointed on merit," said Memon, responding to the opposition's reservations about the police. "There is no political interference and the government has given a free hand to the police."

The lawmakers also asked for community policing in order to eradicate crime and terrorism.

Seeking a home minister

Given the volatile situation in Karachi and other districts of Sindh, PPP MPAs also demanded the appointment of a home minister. "The CM has many other responsibilities. We need a talented, hardworking home minister not only to deal with the situation but also to relieve the burden on his shoulders," said PPP lawmaker Nawab Taimour Talpur.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2015.

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