PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf openly came forward to justify acts of terrorism in provincial assembly on Monday when one of its ministers instead of condemning the suicide attack by militants in Peshawar tried to rationalise it.
“Mr Speaker, suppose if drone hits the residence of an MPA in this House then what will be his reaction,” said Shah Farman, minister for public health and engineering, while taking the floor on a point of order in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.
ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak reacted strongly to the minister’s statement and said that the provincial government conveyed to the people that Pakhtuns would die unless federal government formed a policy against terrorism and halted drone strikes. He said that people had been demoralised owing to the defensive policy of PTI.
He said that federal and provincial governments were playing blame game. He said that previous government was accused of killing Pakhtuns for the sake of dollars, but the present government did not decline financial assistance from western countries.
“Provincial government at least can stop USAID from running the provincial assembly website and ask it to wind up development projects if it can’t force it to halt drone attacks,” Mr Babak said.
He said that militants had resurfaced in Peshawar, Swat and other areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and people were kidnapped for ransom. He said that there was general perception that Taliban were governing the province which might not be wrong.
Shah Farman, who had served PTI as secretary information, argued that people should know details of women, children and other innocent civilians killed in drone strikes during the past few years.
He said that foreign affairs and defence were federal subjects and PTI would not violate the Constitution. He said that it was responsibility of central government to engage Taliban in negotiation to end militancy.
The minister said that provincial government could not halt drone strikes and instead of criticising the government, the opposition should ascertain causes of militancy.
He said that the country was indulged in war 10 years ago to earn dollars and people were used as mercenaries. He opposed deployment of army in Fata and said that the country should pull itself out from the US-led war against terrorism as soon as possible.The minister remarks came in the House when Pakistan People’s Party MPA Nighat Yasmin Orakzai on a point of order condemned car bomb and suicide attacks in Peshawar and Quetta on Sunday that killed over 50 people and wounded more than 100.
Deputy Speaker Imtiaz Shahid Qureshi was presiding over the proceeding. Ms Orakzai suggested that the House should pass unanimous resolution against the barbarism committed by militants. She asked the government to adopt aggressive policy to stop massacre of innocent people.
She said that except Punjab, people of other three provinces were at the mercy of terrorists. She said that provincial government instead of waiting for federal government to frame policy on terrorism should take concrete steps against militancy in the province. She staged walkout when the treasury members booed.
Opposition parties in the assembly seem divided over militancy. Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party are openly condemning militancy while Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-F and Pakistan Muslim League-N have different approach and do not attack militants openly.
Senior Minister Sikandar Khan Sherpao said that federal government could not absolve itself from its responsibility. He warned that militancy could spell over to other parts of the country. He said that government had inherited militancy and opposition should not blame it for its flawed policies.
Later, treasury benches brought a resolution against US drone strikes but opposition disagreed with its content. The content of the resolution tabled by the government was that federal government should stop drone attacks, because it was violation of territorial jurisdiction as well as international law.
The treasury had also included the name of JUI-F MPA Mufti Said Janan without his consent. Mufti said that he was tabling resolution in which supply for Nato forces via Khyber Pakhtunkhwa should be linked with cessation of drone strikes. After protest, it was decided that a joint resolution would be tabled in consultation with opposition on Tuesday.