June 10, 2009

MNAs endorse actions against militants; want IDPs protection

ISLAMABAD, May 12: Members of the National Assembly on Tuesday extended their support to the government for launching the military action against the militants in Swat and Malakand Divisions, demanding for immediate measures to protect Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). The Lower House of the Parliament resumed the debate on situation relating to Swat and Malakand Divisions in which the members from both the sides asked the government to get tough with extremists and anti-state elements which are striving to destabilize the country but also stressed to take the operation to its logical end.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MNA Sahibzada Fazal Karim strongly criticized the self-proclaimed Shria of a group in Swat and said, Pakistan is Islamic state and its Constitution conforms to the teachings of Quran and Sunnah.

He raised the question whether the beheading of innocent people and setting up schools on fire is allowed in Islam, urging the government to expose the elements extending the financial support to the anti-state elements in the country who have been challenging the government writ for last one month despite an agreement for establishing Nizam-e Adl.

Fazal Karim also asked the House to ascertain the punishment for the traitors as the Constitution empowers the Parliament to do so, asking the government to avoid collateral damage in ongoing military action.

Describing the military action as struggle for Pakistan’s defense and was of the view that that both the militants and the terrorists were pursuing the same agenda to destabilize the country.

Pakistan Muslim League MNA Marvi Memon said the party accepted the Nizam-e Adl but unfortunately, the militants reciprocated it with violence.

She said the militants have no other option but to accept the writ of government and have no excuse to attack military convoys, educational institutes, security forces check posts.

Marvi suggested setting up of a cell under the Prime Minister to support IDPs in which the political parties should be given representation.

Zafar Baig Bhittani said the anti-state elements should be dealt ruthlessly and mercilessly but on the other hand, the collateral damage should be avoided and action should be focused and targeted.

He also called for taking the people in confidence about the involvement of foreign hand in anti-state activities and the foreign militants killed during the operation should be brought before public.

Taking part in the debate, MNA Palwasha Muhammadzai said Swat operation is ‘war of existence’ for Pakistan and expressed complete solidarity with Pak army to achieve the task of flushing militants out of the Malakand division.

The MNA said she understands the sufferings of IDPs who have become homeless and shelterless due to the prevailing situation in the area, adding, they could not have been handed over to militants.

“Although IDPs are facing various problems but in camps at least their lives and honour is protected,” she added.

Palwasha said Taliban have been defaming name of Islam by publicly awarding brutal and un-Islamic punishments to men and women of the area.

She said Taliban had set up a ‘slaughter house’ in Swat where head, nose and ear of innocent people were chopped in the name of Islam.

She called upon the ministry of Human Rights to prepare a data of the people who were victimized by Taliban so that the nation could be showed real face of these elements.

She said they (Taliban) declared the parliament, courts and doctors un-Islamic.

Expressing the confidence into the capabilities of Pak army, the MNA said definitely our forces will succeed despite the fact that the militants have sophisticated weapons.

“Wars are always won by with the full backing of the nation and entire nation is standing behind our forces,” she observed.

Palwasha said it is war of Pakistan and Islam’s ideology and every person who takes up arms against the country and challenges writ of the state is ‘traitor.’

She urged the parliamentarians to visit the camps set up for IDPs and boost their morale and ensure them provision of items of day-to-day needs.

Commenting on global war against terrorism, Palwasha Muhammadzai said Pakistan has rendered un-matched sacrifices in this war and is playing important role on its own.

MNA Mrs. Jameela Gilani said the present situation in Swat is a result of the policies introduced by the previous government.

She said some internal and external elements wanted to cash the situation for achieving their designs of destabilising the country.

“So, it is need of the hour to exhibit a complete solidarity with Pak army and the government to eliminate these elements from the society,” the MNA added.

She underlined the need to provide basic amenities of life in tribal areas besides launching development projects to end their sense of deprivation.

Jameela Gilani said the operation should be carried out by engaging ground forces to avoid any collateral damage.

MNA Haider Abbas Rizvi taking part in the debate said, MQM fully supports the decision of the government to establish writ of the state in tribal areas of the country.

He said his party had opposed enforcement of the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation as it was meant to bow before the terrorists.

“Striking agreement with a banned outfit was not justified,” he said and added that it is good step of the government for ‘re-adjusting’ its step against militants.

Haider Abbas said Pak army is capable enough to deal with the situation and overcome the militants.

He said Quaid-e-Tehreek MQM Altaf Hussain has appealed to the nation to hoist Pakistani flags on their houses to demonstrate solidarity with Pak army and the government in this hour of the need and against the Taliban.

The MQM MNA urged upon the all political parties to play their due role and create awareness among masses on the issue.

Haider Abbas Rizvi expressed the concern that Taliban could penetrate in other parts of the country and said “corrective and preventive measures are needed to control the miscreants.”

He said Taliban have made the locals of the areas hostage by planting landmines around their villages to protect themselves from Pak army.

He said MQM’s relief activities for IDPs are in full swing and his party has vast experience to provide such services.

He also called for introducing reforms in Madrassah system to streamline the religious institutes to impart education to students.

The MNA criticised the Frontier Crime Regulation and said it should be abolished immediately.

He announced to donate one month salary of MQM members in the fund for IDPs.

Akundzada Chitan said the action against militants was being taken in larger national interest and not under any external pressure. The elements carrying out terrorist activities wanted to destabilize the country under some foreign agenda.

He said wining the hearts and minds of the people was essential for the success of the fight against terrorism and the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (NAR) was a step in this direction.

The member said since Waziristan and Bajaur were now relatively peaceful there should be assessment of damages and reconstruction work should be started there.

He called for taking proper care of IDPs and said many displaced persons from Bajaur have migrated to Rawalpindi and despite repeated requests the Punjab government has not provided them place for a camp.

Chitan said the Punjab government has issued orders that the displaced persons from Bajaur should be given houses on rent after police verification.

He thanked the government and its coalition partners for supporting the motion on NAR in the National Assembly.

Mehboobullah Jan said that all the Talibans were not anti-Pakistan and included many who were ready to lay down their lives for the sake of the country.

He said their name is being used by foreign elements for carrying out terrorist activities. A handful of these people have destroyed the peace in Swat and Malakand.

Mehbooullah said the government writ must be restored in the troubled areas for safeguarding the solidarity and integrity of the country.

He urged the government to set out its policies keeping in view the priorities of the area and its needs.

The lawmaker hailed the statement of the Prime Minister that Pakistan’s policies will be made by the elected representatives of the people in the parliament.

The government, he added, must ensure provision of items of daily use to the IDPs and called for transparency in utilization of funds for the welfare of the displaced people.

Nosheen Saeed said the nation hoped that the Prime Minister would deal with the miscreants sternly as the militants had hijacked the people of Malakand division.

Akram Masih Gill said the sooner the army completes the operation the better, otherwise they will not only be criticized in the country but also internationally.

He said there is a need to know the causes of terrorism and the hand behind this scourge.

Masih Gill feared that there might be many Taliban in the garb of IDPs and said all of them must be properly registered.

He said those who have migrated from the troubled areas, have in fact rendered invaluable sacrifices for the sake of Pakistan.

He said they need to be immediately provided with all the basic facilities of life as it is getting harder for them in the camps.

The US aid for the displaced persons was very little for some one million IDPs, he said.

Masih Gill alleged that ‘Jazia’ has been taken from some of the IDPs belonging to the minorities, a claim already denied by the authorities.

Taking part in the debate, Pakistan Muslim League-N MNA Ayaz Amir said it would be better to come out of this war as soon as possible.

“Military action can be successful if the leadership is strong enough to face the situation,” he said.

He said that despite the passage of one year the government could not give the political direction and the National Assembly is going to become a rubber stamp.

Ayaz Amir said that the National Assembly, Cabinet and Prime Minister should come forward for a joint decision to tackle the issues.

He said that the government should tell the US about its priorities and said if Pakistan is playing a key role in the war against terrorism, the leadership should get self confidence and take no dictation.

Ayaz Amir urged the Prime Minister, President and cabinet to visit the affected areas to encourage the army and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Usman Khan Tarakai showed his dissatisfaction over the arrangements made for IDPs by the provincial and federal governments.

He lauded the role of the people of Swabi who gave their homes and places for IDPs and announced his one month salary for the relief fund as an independent member.

Usman Khan thanked Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani for the announcement of rupees one billion for IDPs and said the amount should utilized judiciously.

He appreciated the announcement of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for opening office in Mardan and requested to open more such offices in the affected areas to benefit the people.

Usman Khan said that the government should make proper arrangements regarding students for their study and medical facilities for IDPs.

Taking part in debate, PML-N MNA Naseer Bhutta said the state of war is not an easy situation rather it is getting serious but it requires effective remedies to resolve the situation.

He urged the government to avoid the collateral damage during the ongoing operation and called for immediate steps to protect and facilitate the IDPs as almost 250,000 have been forced to leave their homes.

He appreciated Mian Nawaz Sharif who visited IDPs camps despite security threats and added that people are searching for food, shelter and other items of daily use.

Bhutta also lauded Mian Shahbaz Sharif who asked the party members to go house to house to collect donations for the IDPs and urged the people to render joint efforts to steer the country out of crisis.

In his speech, Bashir Virk eulogized the performance of Pakistan Army, which he said is fighting for the survival of the country.

He said instead of criticizing the operation, there is a need to think how to culminate this action and criticized President Asif Zardari for paying a foreign visit during the days when, he said, the country was in state of war.

He observed that the appreciation for Pakistan Army was missing from the speeches of the members, urging them to pay regards to the security forces for their efficient role to safeguard the future of Pakistan.

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