ISLAMABAD: A key Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) member of the National Assembly on Friday forcefully defended the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the wake of allegations regarding its involvement in recent terrorist incidents in Pakistan.
“Is it sufficient to merely say that Afghanistan’s soil is being used (for terrorism in Pakistan)? We are ourselves responsible for it. It is wrong to blame others for our own misdeeds,” declared JUI-F MNA Salahuddin from Balochistan’s Qilla Saifullah while referring to statements by government ministers regarding the involvement of Afghanistan in acts of terrorism in Pakistan.
Taking part in a debate on the Jan 30 suicide bombing in a Peshawar mosque which left over 100 people dead, Mr Salahuddin asked critics of the Afghan Taliban government to do an analysis as to how many incidents of suicide bombing and acts of terror were taking place in Pakistan before the Afghan Taliban formed government in Afghanistan.
“If we have complaints [with Afghanistan], we should hold negotiations with it,” he suggested while calling Afghan Taliban as “our brothers”, he added.
The JUI-F lawmaker questioned as to why there were acts of terrorism taking place only in Pakistan and not in other neighbouring countries of Afghanistan such as Iran and Turkmenistan.
In his speech which he had to cut short because of Friday prayers, the JUI-F lawmaker claimed that the economic as well as law and order situation in Afghanistan was better than Pakistan.
Mr Salahuddin regretted that Pakistan had kept on changing its stance about the Afghan Taliban at the behest of world powers, adding that Islamabad sometimes treated these Taliban as heroes and sometimes as terrorists as and when desired by the US.
“If the Taliban were terrorists, why were they engaged in Qatar and handed over the government in Afghanistan?” Mr Salahuddin questioned?
He urged the Taliban’s critics to do some comparative study of the crime rate in Afghanistan before and after the Taliban takeover, stating: “There has been peace in Afghanistan since the Taliban established their government”.
The JUI-F lawmaker then as usual started lashing out at the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government and held it responsible for the present political and economic mess in the country.
Naz Baloch of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in her speech criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan and called for his accountability for allegedly bringing the country at the verge of economic collapse.
She accused the former prime minister of making the entire country hostage and increasing political polarization in the country.
She particularly took the former premier to task for alleging that PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari was planning to assassinate him with the help of some terror outfits.
The National Assembly, which met for less than an hour, also passed the Pakistan Maritime Zones Bill, 2021, and made some minor and technical changes in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007.
Besides this, the government also introduced two bills: National Skills University Islamabad (Amendment) Bill, 2023; and Quaid-i-Azam Foundation Bill, 2023.
Later, Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf adjourned the proceedings of the house till Monday evening.
Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2023
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