Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Govt warned of disastrous situation in Parachinar
By By Mumtaz Alvi
ISLAMABAD: The government was warned in the Senate on Monday against the possible national disaster in case the 'explosive situation' in Parachinar was not addressed on war footing.

Conceding the worrying state of affairs in the region, the government assured the House that the problem would be resolved within weeks, as a grand Jirga of the warring groups was planned in 2-3 weeks in addition to a series of steps already taken.

The Senate resumed business after the break with a delay of almost an hour, at a time, when the government had announced an energy conservation plan and the early timing of both the Senate and National Assembly sittings was part of it. But astonishingly, since the 44th session started, the Senate has not met on time or close to the scheduled time even once.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement Senator Abbas Kumaili during the ongoing debate on law and order drew the Senate's attention towards the troubled zone, where the dangerous situation prevailed for the last 14 months, but the authorities were not serious about addressing it. He made some stunning revelations about the prevailing conditions in Parachinar, where even the basic amenities were hardly available and that too at exorbitant rates. "It is a very dangerous conspiracy from outside. The conditions are no different from 1971. This conspiracy is to spread sectarian strife and hatred in the region, where all the Muslims have been living in peace," he pointed out.

He termed it a conspiracy to break up the country and not a bid to destabilise it. The senator revealed that foreign elements were active in the region: They had been given a free hand there and hence being ignored; they are resorting to target killings, similar to those carried out in Peshawar, Quetta and Dera Ismail Khan. He wanted to know what role the secret agencies had been playing, asking why could they not tap phones of terrorists, as they have been doing of politicians.

Kumaili called upon the religious scholars to issue a 'Fatwa' against taking the life of others in the name of Islam and he also requested politicians to play their role in this connection. "Right now, what we need are peace marches, not long marches," he said.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik, who was present in the House, rose to concede that the matter was very painful, but insisted that the situation had improved, after the new government had taken a number of initiatives.

He apprised the House of these measures and said that a grand Jirga with representatives from both the warring sides would be assembled at either Kohat or Peshawar to settle the issue within weeks. The adviser confirmed that like in the past, some foreign hands were behind the trouble and wondered, "why are we ready to be used by the foreign hands?"

About Balochistan, he conceded: "We are in trouble in the province, because of our friends and outsiders and we believe in dialogue and reconciliation, we will keep on pushing our agenda through."

Senator S M Zafar said that the law and order was bad, it was reality and that it was worsening was another reality, adding mere sermons could not end the sense of insecurity and fear in people.

He dismissed the government's oft-repeated statement of having been in power for just a few weeks and said the moment, a government takes charge, it is responsible for the life and honour of the citizens.

The News international

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