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PML-N, PML-Q clash on Musharraf trial in Senate

07 January, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The parliamentary leader in the Senate of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Senator Mushahid Ullah Khan, on Monday strongly defended the trial of ex-military ruler Pervez Musharraf in the House, expressing the hope this will put to an end the saga of military interventions in future.

PML-Q President Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, also an ex-prime minister, called for inclusion of the name of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry besides Ch Pervaiz Elahi and former COAS Ashfaq Parvez Kayani in the case and all those whom he had consulted, if at all it was necessary to hold Musharraf's trial on the basis of November 03, 2007 events.

He opposed the use of term treason for a former COAS and proposed its deletion from the Constitution but the PML-N senator rejected it and said this would mean the people in future would also violate the Constitution and get away with it.

It was a private members day and the House resumed debate on a commenced motion. Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari presided over the sitting before the Maghrib prayers. The senators expressed their views while taking part in the debate.

Mushahid Ullah, who is also the PML-N's information secretary, said there was nothing different in the high treason trial of Musharraf, who failed to abide by his oath and flouted the Constitution, trampled it under his feet, adding that similar trials were held the world over.

He noted it was for the first time a government had shown the courage, as in the past, sycophants always pleased the dictators, and in return were given huge favours. "The issue is not of pushing for hanging of someone but to end future military interventions," he clarified.In this context, he referred to the prime minister's statement that the issue was not of vengeance but of the supremacy of Constitution and the state institutions.

The senator recalled how so many people aimed at a prime minister with guns while political parties were created in the offices of the ISI, and political workers subjected to torture at police stations.

About those who wanted Musharraf's trial from October 12, the senator alleged that in fact they were opposed to his trial, as without military takeovers and the shelter of such dictators, they could not become ministers and chief ministers.He charged that under the Grand Democratic Alliance, some parties had supported the then establishment and Musharraf on taking over on October 12. He warned that if thepolitical parties did not show unity on his trial, then they would lament tomorrow.

The senator regretted that some people today say that Musharraf was being isolated and reminded them how he would show his fists and often say "I fear none but that day he landed in a hospital instead of appearing before the court".

Mushahid Ullah wondered how Musharraf was under pressure, when no pressure had been exerted on him by putting his family in jail. He continued it was strange that Musharraf claimed to be ill but was engaged in property sale and added how a Grade-22 government servant became a billionaire, whose spouse Sehba also had plots.

Taking part in the debate, PPPP's Senator Farhatullah Babar cautioned that the security situation in Pakistan would deteriorate as a result of the withdrawal of Nato forces from Afghanistan and empowerment of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He noted that both Pakistan and Afghanistan strongly believed that their worst enemies had sanctuaries inside the two countries. He added thus a complex security situation was in the making and noted that after the appointment of Fazlullah as the TTP head, both countries could claim for the first time that their worst enemies had sanctuaries in each other's country. He claimed Fazlullah had his residence in the Kunar province of Afghanistan.

"The moment of truth has arrived and we must deal with the cross-border movement of militants with impunity," he remarked. He pointed out that cross-border militancy was related to security establishments of the two countries.

The senator said that there was a need for an institutional mechanism for oversight of security establishment and proposed as a first measure to make the security establishment accountable, parliament should adopt a law that while giving the security agencies powers to arrest and detain militants engaged in anti-state activities also make them subject to some form of parliamentary oversight.

Babar also called for addressing the issue of missing persons in the light of recommendations made by the Commission on Enforced Disappearances. He recalled that the interior minister had said in the Senate in June that there was a serious disconnect between the civilian set-up and security establishment but Babar lamented that since then no step had been taken to address this disconnect.

"Unless this disconnect is addressed and the security establishment is subjected to some measure of political and parliamentary oversight, the security situation in Pakistan during the days ahead will deteriorate," he warned.

MQM's Tahir Hussain Mashhadi contended that the governments in the Centre as well as in provinces had been a failure and alleged that the PML-N government in Islamabad had no vision to address the burning issues of poverty and terrorism since it took over in June last year.

He continued that the entire cabinet was playing fiddle while Pakistan was on fire and noted that there had been increases in the POL prices six times since June and there was no mechanism in place to control the spiralling rates of daily use commodities and tariff of utility services.

The senator claimed there was no improvement in law and order and security situation in Karachi despite the on-going operation there and added 10,000 persons had been arrested and none presented before courts. He added that the Taliban, who do not believe in the Constitution and the judiciary, had rejected the offer of talks by the government while the rulers were begging for the same.

Mashhadi asked the government not to hold talks with the militants unless they accepted the Constitution.JUI-F's Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri said that Musharraf's trial for the November 3 events would be an injustice and called for holding him and others accountable from October 12.

Earlier, when Mushahid Ullah pointed out the difference of opinion in the statements of Asif Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah, PPPP's Sabir Baloch, who is also the deputy Chairman of the Senate, clarified that what Shah said was not the party policy.

Senators belonging to the PPPP and MQM exchanged hot words over the statement of Altaf Hussain, wherein he had called for a separate province for the Urdu-speaking Sindhis."Whether Maulana Samiul Haq, Maulana Imran Khan or Maulana Fazlur Rehman or Maulana Munawar Hassan talk to the Taliban, I want peace," said Senator Shahi Syed of the ANP.

End.

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