ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah took the government to task on Wednesday for not keeping its promise to hold a judicial inquiry into the Army Public School (APS) massacre.
“I want to remind the members of this august house that over 140 children lost their lives in the attack on APS,” said Mr Shah, who along with former president Asif Ali Zardari met parents of students killed in the Dec 16, 2014 terrorist attack on Tuesday.
“I cannot tell you how emotional they were,” he said, as he recounted how the entire nation, the government and the opposition had come together and promised not to let the blood of these innocents go in vain.
“But the broken hearts of those grieving parents have not yet been mended. The commitment made with them has yet to be honoured. A judicial inquiry was promised; it is deplorable that it is yet to materialise,” he said, adding that judicial commissions were formed to probe other matters, an incident that shook the entire nation was yet to be investigated.
Karachi port closure, K-Electric’s performance criticised
“What is the problem with holding a judicial inquiry? I, in my capacity as opposition leader, demand that an inquiry be held to ascertain the reasons behind the slaughter of these innocents and determine who benefited from this attack,” he said.
He sarcastically observed that an inquiry had been ordered into the death of an elephant at the Lahore zoo, but none had been conducted into the senseless deaths of over 140 children.
“This is a bipartisan issue, not a political one,” he observed.
The issues facing Karachi also found mention in Wednesday’s proceedings.
During Question Hour, NA Standing Committee on Finance chairman Qaiser Sheikh raised the issue of thousands of containers stranded at the port.
In response, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal Khan told the house that the matter was based on a misinterpretation of a Sindh High Court order and dubbed it a “failure” of the provincial government.
But the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah — who is chairman of the Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping — took exception to the secretary’s statement and informed the house that the basic issue was the passage of heavy goods vehicles through residential areas. He said that in a bid to end the impasse, goods vehicles had been allowed to pass through residential areas after 11pm.
Later, the Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) also walked out to protest the deplorable performance of K-Electric, which had made life in Karachi miserable with hours of unannounced power cuts.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2017