ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly suspended its routine agenda on Monday to condemn the suicide attack in Quetta, with some of its members accusing the government of not effectively implementing the National Acton Plan (NAP) on counterterrorism while others criticising the security establishment for its pick-and-choose policy in rooting out extremism from the country.
Condemning the barbaric killing of innocent people in the blast, the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle expressed their resolve to fight against terrorists side by side of the armed forces.
Minister of State for Interior Balighur Rehman briefed the house on the suicide attack.
Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary leader Navid Qamar said the house should be informed why incidents of such magnitude continued to occur after all parties had given a mandate to the federal government under the NAP to go after terrorists.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions retired General Abdul Qadir Baloch said this was time to express unity with the bereaved families and stand side by side the armed forces.
Dr Shireen Mazari of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said it was the state’s responsibility to protect the life of its citizens, but it seemed that it had failed to do so. “We need answers as to why the state has failed.”
Dr Arif Alvi, another PTI lawmaker, said it was difficult to stop a suicide bomber once sent on a mission and, therefore, law enforcement agencies needed to review their counterterrorism strategies.
Maulana Mohammad Khan Sherani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl accused the security establishment of bringing this bloodbath to the country by joining hands with the United States in its war on terror. He alleged that the arms received from America under the Coalition Support Fund were being used “to fight our own people and that’s why we have to face such incidents”.
Ghulam Ahmad Bilour of the Awami National Party said his party had always called for peaceful relations with neighboring countries, adding that Pakistan could never have peace if it continued to fight Afghanistan and India. He was of the opinion that the country was facing such problems because the decision-making authority had been taken from politicians.
However, on the backbenches, Marvi Memon of the PML-N was busy in chat-chat with fellow party lawmakers Maryam Auranzeb, Kiran Imran Dar, Shaza Fatima Khawaja and others. On nearby seats, Talal Chaudhry had his own company of friends whose laughter was very much audible in the press gallery.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2016