In circles: Stunned by attack, senators grope for answers on unrest

Monday, March 4th, 2013 10:30:25 by



ISLAMABAD: 

Lawmakers in the upper house tried their best to make sense of the deteriorating law and order in Karachi on Monday.

Scores of them believe the Karachi bombing is part of an international conspiracy against Pakistan given its two key decisions taken with the Chinese and Iranian governments over the strategic Gwadar port and gas pipeline project.

Others in the Senate took the authorities to task for not only their failure to prevent yet another lethal bomb explosion in Abbas Town, Karachi, but also their delayed response in rescuing victims, which resulted in heavy casualties and damages.

Many of them blamed Pakistan Peoples Party member Sharmila Farooqi as the police and Rangers were busy with VIP duty for her engagement ceremony at the time of the attack. This was why it took so long for them to reach the scene, said parliamentarians.

The upper house did, however, stand in unison to condemn the act of terror and asked the administration to rein in the unending torrent of sectarian violence against the Shias.

“The Karachi incident should not be excluded from the series of sectarian violence which gripped Quetta,” said veteran PPP Senator Raza Rabbani.

He said this incident should also be viewed in light of international politics following the agreements signed with China on the Gwadar port and the government’s decision to go ahead with the gas pipeline with Iran.

“These are the implications of these decisions, but both are correct and bold moves made by the government,” remarked Rabbani. He said that all the key stakeholders within the country must be on the same page to develop a strategy to counter what he said were conspiracies against national sovereignty. He suggested that the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security should be implemented. They were, after all, put together after all stakeholders were taken on board.

“We have to take a final decision for our national security and sovereignty by giving up the policy of running with the hare and hunting with the hound.”

Baloch Senator Kalsoom Perveen also held “international powers” responsible for sectarian violence in Quetta and Karachi, particularly after the agreements with China and Iran.

Earlier, Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional demanded an inquiry into the delay by the rescue teams, saying that a large number of police and rangers were reportedly deployed on VIP duty at Farooqui’s engagement ceremony.

Opposition Leader in the Senate Ishaq Dar lamented that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had himself informed this house much earlier that such terrorist acts would be replayed in Karachi, but he did not do anything to effectively prevent them.

“The government must tell us what roadmap has been developed to control the situation before it is too late,” he demanded.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Senator Farogh Naseem felt that the absence of city and community policing was responsible.

Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan criticised the government for what he said was corruption and a misuse of power despite the fact that the country was facing one of the worst levels of violence. “Every street of Karachi is red with the blood of innocent people and the interior minister is playing politics with their blood. He is himself an expert on terrorism,” he remarked.

Baloch Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo said that different religious groups in Karachi have started establishing their own courts after being disappointed with the government.

Earlier, Awami National Party Senators walked out of the house to protest the bomb blast and decision not to allocate gas to Tal Tehsil in Hangu district, which is a major contributor of gas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

No business

Following its tradition of suspending all legislative business on the occasion of a sitting member’s death, the National Assembly’s Monday session was adjourned after offering prayers for PPP’s Mehrunnisa Afridi who passed away in Peshawar on Sunday night after a brief illness.

The lower house, attended by not more than a dozen members, held collective prayers for Afridi and victims of the Abbas Town attack.

The MQM, however, did manage to record its protest over the Karachi bombings and demanded an inquiry from the government besides the arrest of the people involved.

“It was a blatant act of terrorism that deprived over 40 families of their loved ones and their properties. We want to know why no police, no Rangers or any other law enforcement personnel made it to the scene hours past the incident,” demanded MNA Iqbal Muhammad Ali.

Asking the government to inform the house on the inquiry, Ali said that the police’s late response to the catastrophe was “criminal negligence”.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2013.



Quetta News Sources -2

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