NA calls for sectarian harmony to 'save' country
06 September, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday unanimously held that the worsening law and order situation poses a grave threat to national security and called for sectarian harmony, which, they said, could otherwise split the country.
Lawmakers across party lines urged for implementing the parliamentary recommendations regarding national security, expressing concern over the recent wave of sectarian killings and rising incidents of terrorism. They talked on national security when the House initiated a debate on the prevailing law and order situation in the country on a motion moved by Interior Minister Rehman Malik.
Starting the debate in the National Assembly, the PML-N's firebrand lawmaker Khawaja Saad Rafique emphasised the need for long-term and comprehensive national security policy by the government before it quits the office, to deal with this precarious situation.
He was particularly critical of non-serious attitude of the government towards ensuring national security, saying it was more concerned about prolonging its rule rather than tackling such a critical issue. He blamed military dictators, whom be called usurpers and traitors and declared that no one could be allowed to impose their version of Islam on others at gunpoint.
Rafique asked the government to answer when had it implemented the recommendations of parliament's national security committee, and sought a reply about who was responsible for national security: army, ISI, Interior Ministry, the prime minister or president. He said failures on the national security front had pushed Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, FATA and Karachi into a state of anarchy.
Fazlur Rehman, chief of his own faction of the JUI, deplored that parliament presented the recommendations for improving national security, but they never saw the light of the day. He criticised madrassas and religious parties for sectarianism and terrorism in the name of religion and said all politico-religious parties had rejected this extremism.
"We held conventions of clerics who have decreed against this extremism," he told the House. Fazl held elements within the government and agencies responsible for sectarian violence in the country. He urged the government to admit that elements in the country's intelligence agencies had blocked implementation of parliament's recommendations on national security.
PPP's Afzal Nadeem Gondal said the deplorable situation of the education sector had pushed children towards religious seminaries, resulting in them ending up helping jihadis. He said an old mindset of governing Afghanistan and decrees against India had let to nothing but militancy in the country. He called for political reconciliation and religious dialogue to ensure sectarian harmony, which was the need of the hour.
Earlier, Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi deferred the Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill 2011 after some objections from PML-N's Zahid Hamid, which were not explained by the government side.
Responding to a calling attention notice, State Minister for Water and Power Tasneem Qureshi told the House that load shedding in the country had been minimised to some extent, however, he added, a lot needed to be done. He said energy alternate sources were being explored, especially Thar coal, to operate power plants on coal rather than furnace oil, which is costly.
Qureshi said the government had paid Rs 1,000 billion subsidy to the power sector in the last four years and Rs 250 billion had been set aside in this budget. He rejected reports that the government was withdrawing 650MW of electricity being supplied to Karachi from the national grid.