ISLAMABAD: The members of the National Assembly from Balochistan and erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) on Tuesday again raised voices over the ongoing security operations in their respective areas as Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf allowed the lawmakers to deliver lengthy speeches on points of order after setting aside a 205-point lengthy private member’s day agenda.

Most members in their speeches lashed out at policies of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government and targeted former premier Imran Khan for allegedly polluting the political atmosphere by inciting the youth to violence and use of abusive language. They sought action to prevent him from spreading anarchy.

Some lawmakers also drew the attention of the government towards the problems being faced by those associated with the agriculture sector, demanding subsidies on seeds, fertilisers, electricity charges for tube wells and other agriculture inputs.

Meanwhile, Zahid Akram Durrani of the JUI-F was elected as deputy speaker after no other candidate filed nomination papers against him. He is expected to take oath today (Wednesday).

Speaker throws away 205-point private member’s day agenda, allows members to make speeches on points of order; Zahid Durrani elected deputy speaker unopposed

Taking the floor, Mohammad Jamaluddin of the JUI-F alleged that women and children of Waziristan had been martyred during the bombing in Khost, the border town of Afghanistan some three days back.

“Are our agencies so weak? They (terrorists) visit our areas regularly. They come here dancing on horses carrying Kala­shni­kovs after traveling 40 to 50 kilometres. Don’t they (agencies) see them (terrorists)?” he asked, while also “condemning” the incident.

The JUI-F MNA asked the government to do something to bring back the women and children living as IDPs (internally-displaced persons) to their native areas. He said if there were terrorists or Taliban in the area, then the security forces must take action against them, but at least innocent people should not be targeted. He termed such “bombing attacks” on tribal people a violation of human rights and Pakistan’s Constitution.

Mr Jamaluddin said he was receiving reports from his South Waziristan constituency that preparations were afoot for an­­other operation in Razin Mandesh area. He said when IDPs were allowed to come back after their identity cards were checked, the army had told them that the area had been cleared from terrorists and peace restored.

He said whenever the army announced an operation terrorists left the area and only locals suffered. They could no more afford operations, he said, adding if the army wanted to conduct operation against terrorists, it could do it but the general public should not be targeted.

The issue had also been raised by independent MNA Mohsin Dawar in the National Assembly last week.

Later, taking the floor, Prof Dr Shahnaz Baloch of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) said though her party had only four members in the house, it represented a large number of people. She said BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal in his first speech had already stated why they had decided to join the government if the sisues would remain unresolved.

The BNP-M lawmaker said in the past two to three days, Baloch people were killed and it seemed that it was happening under an “agenda”. She said whenever they did some activities through the parliament, an accident happened in Balochistan and “people are killed”.

“Yesterday morning (Monday), again many people were killed because of which we staged a walkout,” she said while referring to the Chagai incident where security forces allegedly opened fire on protesters.

“Tell me, where should we and the BNP-M go?” she asked, adding: “At least give us the right to live.”

She said if all the parties worked together like they did while making efforts to oust the previous PTI government, they could resolve the issues of Balochistan also. She said the PTI government formed many task forces, but none had representation from Balochistan. The BNP-M members on Monday boycotted the National Assembly proceedings over the alleged firing by the security forces on protesters in Chagai.

The issue had been raised by Agha Hassan Baloch of the BNP-M, alleging that on April 16, the security forces had opened fire on unarmed and oppressed Baloch people in Chagai in which six persons were martyred and many others injured.

Later, Mr Baloch led the party members to stage a walkout and then they did not come back to the house to participate in the remaining proceedings.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2022

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