ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday witnessed some fiery speeches as lawmakers stressed national unity to eliminate terrorism, but while sticking to their party positions offered divergent views to nip the scourge in the bud.
On the second day of the Peshawar tragedy debate, the National Assembly was seen clearly divided over the option of launching a new military operation against terrorists as a majority of the lawmakers opposed to such an option questioned the efficacy of previous operations.
The lawmakers criticised the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government at the centre and in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for its policy to appease the militants. However, they also frequently drew attention of Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf towards the absence of the ministers from the house during the session.
The hard-hitting speech came from independent MNA from Waziristan Mohsin Dawar who suggested setting up of a truth and reconciliation commission to fix responsibility on the individuals and institutions that brought the country on the verge of destruction by pursuing the faulty Afghan policy for past 40 years.
JUI-F opposes military action against militants; Dawar calls for setting up truth commission on Afghan policy
Referring to the protest demonstration staged by the police personnel outside the Peshawar Press Club, he said, “If your force starts protests, then one can easily assess [the gravity of the] situation.”
He regretted that even the “police do not have trust in the state”.
While expressing his concern over the trend of blaming only the Afghans for terrorism, the MNA said the Taliban were portrayed as hero by the past rulers, who pushed the country into the Afghan war when US dollars were raining on them.
“We as a state celebrated when Taliban took over [in Afghanistan],” he recalled. Previously, Islamabad blamed the pro-India government in Kabul for supporting TTP and terrorism in Pakistan, he said.
“Now who is supporting them [TTP] when we have our own favourite government there [in Afghanistan],” he questioned, adding what had become clear was that there could be no peace till the Taliban government was there.
Referring to the in-house briefings given to the parliament by the military leadership during the PTI government, Mr Dawar said, “Everyone knows under whose protection they [Taliban] have returned and from where they are getting the support.”
He called for rectifying the Afghan policy before it was too late, warning that otherwise “there will be an action replay of Afghanistan in Pakistan”.
Minister for Religious Affairs Moulvi Abdul Shakoor of the JUI-F, however, forcefully opposed the idea of launching a new military operation against terrorists as it would cause more destruction in the tribal areas. He said ministers in the previous PTI government in KP had been giving extortion money to the militants.
Earlier, initiating the debate, Opposition Leader Raja Riaz called for audit of over Rs400bn provided to the two PTI-led KP governments for security purposes in last decade. He regretted that Peshawar was still without security cameras despite being the worst victim of terrorism.
“After ruling the province for 10 years, today they [PTI] were complaining that they did not have resources [to fight terrorism],” said Mr Riaz, while criticising ex-premier Imran Khan for allowing the militants to resettle in the tribal areas.
Saira Bano of the Grand Democratic Alliance called for sending back the Afghan refugees to their country at the earliest. Later, the House was adjourned to meet again on Friday at 11am.
Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2023
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