Opposition members of the Senate staged a walkout on Tuesday over the interior minister’s absence from the house, despite a ruling by the chairman a day earlier.
The minister’s absence from the upper house of parliament created furor among opposition parties leading to the abrupt adjournment of the session.
The Senate chairman on Monday had directed the government to present a detailed report on the suicide attack in Islamabad’s court compound that left dozens dead, including a judge. The interior minister, however did not appear to brief the house.
Taking a tough line, opposition benches criticised Chaudhry Nisar for what they called his continuous ‘boycott’ of the Senate.
Enraged senators alleged that intelligence agencies are busy eavesdropping on politicians instead of performing their duties.
Where was Nisar’s Rapid Response Force for 45 minutes when militants stormed the Islamabad court complex? the lawmakers questioned.
PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan said the government has given the Taliban a free hand to declare a ceasefire or war at their will. He claimed that the vehicles used by terrorists in the court attack left the crime scene without any check.
Warning the government over its ignorance, Senate Chairman Nayyar Hussan Bokhari asked the leader of the house to present the National Security Policy for debate.
In an unprecedented moment during the session, Senator Hamza of the PML-N also criticised the government for its failure to take action against terrorists despite attacks in recent weeks.
Delving into the debate, PPP’s leader Raza Rabbani said the nation is waiting for the interior minister’s resignation over his failure to secure the capital.
He pointed out that the interior secretary and IG Islamabad issued contradictory statements in the Supreme Court, which shows that there is no coordination among the law enforcement agencies.
Speaking on the issue, MQM Senator Babar Ghauri said it was the right time to take action against the militants.
Similarly, Senator Hasil Bizenjo said terrorists should be treated as terrorists, and not as a legitimate political entity.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2014.