The opposition lawmakers in Senate on Thursday shifted focus to their demand of Interior Minister Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan’s resignation, demanding his ouster from the federal cabinet in view of Justice Qazi Faez Isa Commission report on Balochistan carnage.
However, the treasury lawmakers retaliated in the same tone, saying on which moral ground the opposition seeks resignation of Nisar, as their past is tainted with corruption, US Navy seals raid in Abbottabad and Supreme Court’s report that charged-sheeted some parties for having militant wings and their involvement in extortion and other heinous crimes.
Speaking on an adjournment motion filed by 13 senators belonging to PPP, MQM, ANP and the government ally PkMAP, Opposition Leader Aitzaz Ahsan warned that after Qazi Faez Isa report, he sees a confrontation between the Supreme Court and ruling government.
“I’m afraid to say that Supreme Court has a tough time ahead, and new chief justice [Mian Saqib Nisar] who is a thorough gentleman, may have to face very tough time from the government after Justice Faez Isa report,” he added.
Aitzaz continued that Justice Isa, who belongs to a very honourable family of Balochistan that had close association with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, may be made another Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, a former chief justice of Supreme Court who was attacked by an unruly mob of PML-N workers and leaders when his bench was hearing a contempt of court case against then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1997.
“God forbid if Justice Isa was treated like Syed Sajjad Ali Shah, its repercussions on Balochistan and Supreme Court will be disastrous…the way we’re seeing attack on the apex court by a minister indicates that alarm bells have been rung,” said Aitzaz.
He came down hard on the interior minister for his statements in media against the inquiry commission, saying a man even with credibility could have walked out but the interior minister had rolled up his sleeves against an honourable judge, which is not a good omen for the country.
The ruling PML-N stalwart Senator Mushahidullah Khan said that anybody demanding Chaudhary Nisar’s resignation must remember that their wish is not going to be fulfilled, adding, “Look at your past and then open your mouth, as you had to face even worse case but not a single minister bothered to quit.”
Senator Farhatullah Babar of PPP said that the Supreme Court Inquiry Commission report has brought down the entire structure of internal security policy and the nation will weep if the interior minister did not step down to restore the public trust.
The report is a frightening indictment of internal security preparedness, he said, adding but more frightening is the irresponsible response and stubbornness of the minister who has come out as the single greatest impediment in the way of fighting militancy.
“If the people still hope to win the fight against militancy, it is not because of the interior minister. But despite that is it possible that the interior minister telling the Supreme Court that he was not responsible for public meeting of proscribed organisations in Islamabad because it was police department, not he (Nisar), that gave permission in this regard,” he questioned.
He further stated if it could be imagined that NACTA chief asserts that he is not responsible if its board of governors did not meet for three years and that the prime minister is responsible for that. “Can it be imagined that the minister will have the audacity to assert that he met a leader of a proscribed organisation only as the latter was a team member of a non-proscribed outfit.
By saying this, the minister has actually said that proscribed organisations are free to join hands under a new name. Can the people now feel safe?” he questioned.
The Commission wondered why no action was taken on two letters demanding ban on militant organisations and rightly questioned the pro-militant leaning of the interior minister, he said, adding Nisar’s glossing over the proscribed organisations is well known.
He said that the report is a stinging indictment of interior minister, the country is unsafe under him and he must resign. If he does not resign, he must be shown the door; otherwise, Pakistan will weep, he said, adding, “Weep Pakistan, weep” if the minister is not shown the door.”
The remarks of Farhatullah Baba provoked Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq to intervene as he remarked that the discussion was meant to discuss the content of the report but the opposition lawmakers are only targeting the interior minister.
Another PPP senator Taj Haider lauded the efforts made by Justice Isa, and called upon the government to implement the recommendation made by the inquiry commission instead of political point-scoring and blame games.
Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum (Retd) of PML-N accepted that there is a weigh-age in the Commission’s report and it will be implemented.
However, he said whatever has been said in the report may not necessarily be true, as it will be contested in the apex court. Usman Khan Kakar of PkMAP demanded that interior minister should come in the House and apologise for his poor performance. Nehal Hashmi of PML-N came down hard on Usman Kakar, saying that his party was also part of the government of Balochistan and he should also take responsibility.
Before the State Minister for Interior Baleegur Rehman rose from his seat to conclude the debate, Raza Rabbani said that the interior minister had the opportunity to give his stance on the report and deplored that they themselves are weakening the parliament.
Baleegh painted a rosy picture of his government’s performance while dealing with the menace of terrorism and said that Chaudhary Nisar in his press conference has presented his government’s point of view.
He also presented the latest updates and his government’s performance on the implementation on 20-point National Action Plan (NAP).
He said that the government under NAP has increased the budget of NACTA up to Rs 1.559 billion for the fiscal 2016-17 and out of this Rs 1.5 billion have been released during this year. Action has been taken against hate speech cases as mentioned in NAP and 1,365 cases have been registered and 2,454 arrests have been made. “15,260 FIRs have been registered against misuse of loudspeaker and 4,166 equipments have been confiscated,” he added.
He said that the government has recovered Rs 800 million in the business of money laundering; 8,309 persons have been placed on Fourth Schedule and this list has been shared with ISI, IB and other institutions.
He said that 2,325 religious seminaries have been sealed or closed. He claimed that sectarian terrorism has decreased as 34 cases were reported in 2016 as compared to 185 in 2012 and 127 in 2013. “It is unfair to say that nothing has happened but there is always room for improvement,” he concluded.