Saturday July 02, 2022

Govt-TTP talks, NAB amendments discussed in Senate

June 21, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Former chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani on Monday raised the issue of the ongoing talks between the government and the proscribed outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, saying it was being reported that the TTP wanted reversal of the merger of tribal areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

While speaking on a point of public importance, Raza Rabbani said, “The government, particularly the minister of defence, should take the House into confidence on the talks with TTP, as there are media reports claiming that the Taliban’s patent condition is that the Fata should be rolled back to its previous status.” He said he had submitted a calling attention notice on the talks with TTP at the start of the session but this could not be taken up due to the budget. He said the decisions could not be taken behind closed doors, sending jirga would be a good choice but jirga could not be an alternative to the Parliament.

The former chairman Senate contended that a faction of the TTP has stepped up the terror activities in the country, what are the terms of agreement with them, unless the matter would be brought to the Parliament, it could not be accepted. Earlier, JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad raised the issue of alleged targeted-killing of four youths and said, “Today, it has been reported in the media that four youths have been martyred in the targeted-killings in Waziristan, these highly educated young men have been working for the betterment of education, health and peace in Waziristan”.

The PPP’s senior leader said the government had signed an agreement with those young men to stop targeted-killing, but now they themselves had become the victims of the tragic end. He pointed out that good the Taliban had taken the responsibility, claiming, “We killed them.” He wondered how such acts of terror could be carried out, while the army and FC personnel were deployed there. Wearing black armbands, the opposition senators attended the session on the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendments.

Leader of the Opposition Dr Shahzad Wasim said, “Today is a dark day. We are attending the meeting with wearing black armbands over the NAB amendments, as today the NRO-2 has been given and it is a black law.” Raza Rabbani said the major parties have killed the NAB Act and their hands are painted with blood, claiming that amid chants of shame, shame by the opposition Senators those parties had tried to blackmail the then PTI government for NRO-2 and had walked out of the legislature over the NAB law.

Speaking on the occasion, Leader of the House Azam Nazeer Tarar said the 85 percent of the amendments to the NAB law are those made by the PTI government through two ordinances that were not put for discussion and deliberations. Senator Tarar added that he would satisfy the opposition over any doubt or the other regarding the NAB amendments. He regretted that instead of putting the NAB amendments for discussion, the accountability tool was used to political engineering in total disregard to the Constitution. However, he conceded that the two major parties were at fault, they should have changed this black law. The NAB was used against the political opponents in the then PTI government.

Senator Tarar strongly defended the amendments and said some draconian clauses existed in the Act, which could not be traced anywhere in the world, like putting someone on mere allegation for three years and then a court setting him free, being innocent, who would make up for the damage done to him and his family. He said that the NRO was given to Shahzad Akbar, Usman Buzdar, and Farah Gogi. The chairman Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions presented a report on the matter of development schemes of SDGs programme at tribal districts Mohmand and Bajaur, saying that the concerned officials had conceded before the committee during its second meeting that the corruption and embezzlement were done.

Azam Nazeer Tarar claimed that the massive funds were released for laying down the 844 km long pipeline within a night and that a huge amount was also found in the account of a student, who was awarded a contract for uplifting the scheme. He added that more cases of corruption would surface, if the matters related to other tribal districts were looked into. The committee had asked that Rs384.75 million paid to the contractor for development schemes in Bajaur be deposited in the government exchequer within ten days and an unspent amount of Rs90.74 million was frozen till further direction from the committee.

Senator Naseema Ehsan said police violence against Baloch women, who were protesting for the missing persons in Karachi, is condemnable and remarked, “The women, who were protesting to recover their missing persons, were dragged into the police mobile vans.” The Senator said it should be told whether the Constitution does not give the right to all citizens of the country to hold peaceful protest, while Senator Saleem Mandviwala said the issue of violence against women should be referred to the committee. The Senate also sought a report from Inspector General of Police Sindh in this regard. The House will now resume on Tuesday afternoon, after having been adjourned due to lack of the quorum.