Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Monday asked the prime minister’s adviser on foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, to take the upper house into confidence about questions related to the death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar as well as the fate of the stalled Afghan reconciliation talks.
Senator Rabbani issued instructions for a briefing by Sartaj Aziz a few days after his colleague in the upper house, Farhatullah Babar, had demanded a clear-cut statement over the death of Taliban’s top leader.
Though the Afghan government claimed that Pakistan had informed it about the death of Mullah Omar, there was no official response from Islamabad.
Read: Afghan Taliban dismiss reports of Mullah Omar's son's murder in Pakistan
Similarly, he said that though Pakistan had brokered the recent Afghan-Taliban peace talks, the authorities were reticent about its role earlier. He called upon the government to take the house into confidence about the negotiations.
Meanwhile, Senator Sherry Rehman said that Shafqat Hussain’s death sentence be converted into life imprisonment and allegations against him should be re-investigated.
Earlier, State Minister for Interior Baleeghur Rehman informed the house that the provincial government of Balochistan had not submitted any complaint regarding the Frontier Corps’ “interference in provincial autonomy”.
Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Senator Usman Khan Kakar had raised the issue and the house held a debate on the situation arising out of intrusion of the FC in the affairs/authenticity of the provincial government and interference in provincial autonomy of Balochistan with particular reference to the agreement/contract made by the FC with illegal lease owners of coalmines in Harnai and imposition of taxes on the same at their own.
The minister, however, said that the government would definitely look into the matter in case the issue is formally raised by the provincial authority.
Senator Mohsin Leghari introduced a constitutional amendment bill seeking substitution of Article 140A. The bill was referred to the relevant standing committee.
During the proceedings, the Senate witnessed an exchange of harsh words between chairman Rabbani and Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal who was trying to convince his fellow senators not to discuss the issues that damage the country’s image.
Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) moved a motion for a discussion on the effects of transfer of wealth from Pakistan on its economy. When chairman disallowed him from making a speech, he said: “We are not in a military court. We are in the Senate of Pakistan.”
Read: Mullah Omar’s family rejects new Taliban supremo
Before the session, Business Advisory Committee of the Senate decided to donate Rs2 million to flood victims of Chitral calling them the worst-affected flood. The committee also approved the celebrations of the first sitting of the Senate on August 6, 1973.
The current session of the house is scheduled to continue till August 13.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2015.
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