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PML-N aborts anti-militants call in NA

A view of the National Assembly. — Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Amid confusing signals over the possibility of a military operation against Taliban bases in North Waziristan in the wake of the shooting of Swat’s schoolgirl activist Malala Yosufzai, the Pakistan Muslim League-N aborted on Tuesday a new government-backed resolution in the National Assembly calling for action against militants.

But before fiery and passionate exchanges on the move, the house saw a period of comparative cordiality when the PML-N conceded to the deletion of a single word from a government bill seeking the establishment of a new drug regulatory authority, leading to its unanimous adoption, after government support enabled a similar passage of a PML-N member’s private bill seeking to abolish discretionary quotas in public sector housing schemes in Islamabad.

As the PPP-led coalition failed to achieve a house consensus on the resolution which a source said only called for “practical measures” against militants in general terms in reaction to the Oct 9 shooting claimed by Taliban, the move was given up even without the draft being moved or read out before the house was prorogued after a 12-day session.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of opposition in the house, who took the floor twice over the issue, repeatedly accused the government of not implementing most of the previous unanimous parliamentary resolutions and said the new one was being brought as a precursor to a military operation in Waziristan while Swat’s fugitive Taliban leader Maulvi Fazlullah, who is generally considered as the mastermind of the Mingora attack, was living in Afghanistan.

But PPP chief whip and Religious Affairs Minister Khursheed Ahmed Shah rejected the charges, noting that there was no mention of Waziristan in the resolution, and offered the PML-N to make any changes in the draft, or move one of their own.

But the PML-N was in no mood to buy the idea as it appeared getting closer to an anti-operation stance taken by the Defence of Pakistan Council of hard-line rightwing groups and Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf.

And the ruling coalition also was hesitant to move a resolution without a consensus of all parties in parliament, amid reports of apparent dithering even by military commanders after initial expressions of a resolve to act in concert with an international outcry against the attack.

TRADE-OFF ON BILLS: Earlier, in an apparent trade-off in legislative business, the government backed PML-N member Zahid Hamid’s four-clause bill providing for the abolition of discretionary quotas in public sector housing schemes in the capital, paving the way for its unanimous passage, before Mr Hamid withdrew his opposition to an MQM member’s amendment for the deletion of the world “only” from a clause of the government’s Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan Bill.

The government bill of 42 clauses and six schedules had been deferred on Monday midway through voting on its clauses in the second reading when the PML-N deliberately broke the quorum by asking several of its back-benchers to sneak out of the house before the chair ordered a count on the request of a party member after MQM’s S.A. Iqbal Qadri refused to withdraw his amendment to the clause under which the chief executive officer or a director of the new Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan must be a Pakistani citizen.

PML-N objectors argued that the deletion of the word “only” from the clause – “no person shall be appointed as the CEO or director of the authority unless he is a citizen of Pakistan only” -- would pave the way for the induction of Pakistanis with dual nationality who they thought could serve the interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies working in the country.

Comments (9) Closed

Oct 17, 2012 07:14am
The military has never needed civilian permission. It is the other way round.
altaf hasan
Oct 18, 2012 04:09am
Chaudhry Nisar and sherif brothers are not concern about pakistan people safety. they are only care about their election. their chair and their power in ther country. they want parliment seat for there pleasure. they do not care about people of pakistan. One war with taliban, and make it over one time. instead of killing people every day. they and there family is not dying in bombs. they just want election for there seats. good luck for them
Oct 17, 2012 01:03pm
Aborting action against militants.Nothing surprising about that.After all that hurrah hara and drum beating after the shooting of this girl and not forgetting the army issuing a warning of attack on these terrorists.Political expedience and self party survival in the elections has taken over.A typical example of a group of so called servants of the public, putting aside the woes of the people like the thousands of Pakistani refugees in their own country and the deaths of thousands in this so called terrorists actions is not their problem.Winning the elections is paramount to them.Can't antagonize the pro Taliban group can we?I mean the "Islamic" mullahs are a powerful magnet to voters.
Oct 18, 2012 06:06am
Incomplete work of legislation as Drug regulatory bill needs to cover many areas like healthcare vigilance and awareness.
Oct 18, 2012 12:47am
Everyone seems to be playing a game....The buck doesn't seem to stop anywhere. It seems to be hopping always
Oct 17, 2012 07:12pm
PML N is scared that the elections may be postpone and their hopes of getting back into power may be delayed or dashed, they are worrying about themselves and not the nation which is witnessing killings and threats by the taliban everyday..This is s selfish attitude.
Mario Henrique S. Lins
Oct 17, 2012 06:54pm
Pakistan is a country? No sir, Pakistan is a Joke, a nuclear armed one, but still a joke. Mario Henrique.
ali ahmed
Oct 17, 2012 02:01pm
shame to PML(n) for not supporting it
Oct 17, 2012 01:27pm
It is sad that our politicians can't keep working relationships and to unite against sensitive issues like increasing in-tolerance and lawlessness. Few days ago I was having a good laugh when I read our current president predicting that PPP will win the next election. But after recent woes of PTI and rudderless PML(n), I am now starting to believe what president said. Seeing the performance of PPP lead govt, that is yet another depressing thought!