ISLAMABAD - At a time when the opposition benches in a one-day session of the Senate came down hard on the federal government for not properly dealing with the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) of North Waziristan Agency, Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan gave some different suggestions.
Aitzaz Ahsan suggested the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan to use his energies for the rehabilitation of IDPs instead of using resources and energies on holding a long march towards the capital. “We appeal to Imran Khan that the money being spent on long march should be given to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and IDPs,” he added.
Ahsan also suggested the federal government to freeze funds being used for the construction of metro bus project and use these for the care of IDPs. He further said Pakistan army was not only busy in a military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) but is also fighting a war. “If we fail to handle these IDPs, we will lose this war,” he warned the government.
Saeed Ghani of PPP said that KP government would lose attention on IDPs if PTI became engaged in long march. Mian Raza Rabbani warned the government to understand the gravity of the situation as efforts are being made to destabilise it and said, “It is only the Parliament that can steer the country out of the crises.” He also stressed the government to bring all the issues in the Parliament and also summon a joint session of the parliament if needed.
The opposition benches raised a hue and cry criticising the PML-N-led federal government and PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and said both have failed to properly handle the IDPs.
Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q went on to say that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited a fake camp of IDPs in Bannu and the matter should be probed. He said that the government had failed to take care of IDPs properly. Afrasiab Khattak also endorsed Agha.
Minister of State and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) Lt Gen (Retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, who has been given the charge to look after the IDPs, dispelled the impression that the PM ever visited a fake camp. “A total of 486,267 IDPs have been registered so far and out of them 240 families are living in camps,” he said, adding that most of IDPs have preferred to live in rented houses or with their relatives. He also said that the government was giving Rs 40,000 to each IDP family and that money would be enough to fulfil their needs. “The PM has announced to bear all expenses of IDPs,” he said. He said there was no restriction on IDPs to go any part of the country.
Information Minister Pervez Rasheed said that the government was serious about the issue of IDPs.
The house also passed a motion presented by Law Minister Pervez Rasheed, authorising the Chairman Senate Nayyer Hussain Bokhari to make nominations in consultation with the leader of parliamentary parties in the Senate in proportion to their representation in the house for the parliamentary committee being constituted to evaluate the shortcomings of previous elections and make recommendations for electoral reforms to ensure that elections are held in free, fair and transparent manner.
The opposition benches staged a token walkout from the house, saying that the government has not properly answered the call attention notice of ANP senators regarding the announcement of international airlines to suspend their flight to Peshawar after an incident of firing on a plane. The opposition staged walkout after the government said that it was trying to get international flights for Peshawar resumed.
Senator Afrasaib Khattak raising the issue said that the people of KP had to travel to other cities to go abroad as the international airlines have suspended their flights after a firing incident. He said the government should inform the house what measures it is taking to control the damage.
Senator Zahid Khan said that labour class of KP working in Middle East countries was facing difficulties.
Sheikh Aftab, parliamentary affairs minister, said that the PM had announced Rs 5 billion for Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the security of airports and the Airport Security Force (ASF) had been asked to make fresh recruitments.
Mian Raza Rabbani condemning the government said that CAA in an inquiry had not held responsible anyone for Karachi airport terrorist attack.
Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, who is also convener of the special committee on recruitments, presented the report of the committee on the appointment made in the federal government institutions during 2007 to 2010. The House also passed the Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2013 to amend the Emigration Ordinance 1979 that would provide protection to the properties of overseas Pakistanis.