NAWAIWAQT GROUP
 
 
 
Defence Ministry knows nothing about drones!
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - Making an extremely naive and childish revelation, Defence Minister Naveed Qamar has totally dissociated the defence ministry and the armed forces from the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan, passing the buck on the Ministry of States and Frontier Region and the political administrations concerned.While Foreign Office and the defence ministry always sound loud-mouthed in condemning drones, they are so ignorant about the predator strikes that they have no record of casualties and destruction caused by the drone attacks.Moreover, they don’t know about the exact time of commencement of drone strikes in the country. This speaks volume of either criminal cunningness to conceal inability or ignorant apathy on part of the armed forces and the defence baboos towards a security issue.In his written reply to a question asked by Hafiz Hamdullah of JUI-F, the defence minister stated that his ministry had not made any agreement with any foreign government permitting drone attacks in Pakistan and so they were unaware of exact date when first strike was carried out.The minister said drone strikes are being carried out without the consent of the government of Pakistan and the armed forces; therefore, no exact time limit can be given about their termination. He stated that the government and the armed forces had repeatedly raised the drones’ issue and the need for their immediate cessation with the US government and its military authorities.The government has considered position “for the cessation of these strikes as these are highly counter-productive in the context of our efforts to combat terrorism and restoration of normally in our affected areas,” written reply reads. He further stated that it has repeatedly been emphasised that continuation of drone strikes leads to negative public opinion and these were unacceptable to the people of Pakistan.About the number of casualties in these attacks so far, the minister stated that number of civilian casualties and that of terrorists may be requested from the concerned Political Administration or the Ministry of States and Frontier Region.The government Thursday also avoided answering the question that whether the persons having dual nationality were eligible for appointment in the armed forces of Pakistan. To this query from Senator Sughra Imam, the defence ministry replied that the information was being collected from the department concerned and will be provided on the next Rotta Day.During the Question Hour session, the House was also informed that an aircraft of Pakistan Air Force was used by the former Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and other PPP leaders including Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Qamar Zaman Kaira to attend the PPP rally in Hyderabad on October 15 this year. The Defence Minister Naveed Qamar in his written reply stated that for that specific occasion, the use of PAF Aircraft was authorised and approved by the then PM but only for Information Minister Kaira.On October 15, 2012, it is intimated that single CN-235 (CASA) aircraft was used from Islamabad, Hyderabad, Karachi and Islamabad the same day, the reply stated. He maintained that the president, PM and ministers are entitled for PAF special flights. According to the prevalent instructions, such flights are not charged by the PAF, he added.Meanwhile, the PPP leaders continue to strengthen the impression that the party has put its entire weight behind Pakistan Army against judiciary and media in a political scenario emerging after the judgement in the Asghar Khan Case. On Thursday, Senator Faisal Raza Abidi alleged that Supreme Court’s decisions in several cases taken during last three and a half years tantamount to demoralise the resolve of armed forces.Taking part in a debate on law and order situation in the country, with particular reference to targeted killings and sectarian violence in Balochistan, Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan, Abidi claimed in the Senate that the recent verdict in Asghar Khan Case was purely an effort to taint the character of Pakistan Army at a time when the country is in a state of war.Senate Chairman Nayyar Bokhari wanted to windup the debate that commenced on September 6; however, Interior Minister Rehman Malik refused to deliver his concluding remarks over the issue on the pretext of his bad health. The situation persuaded Senate Chairman to continue with the debate and give floor to firebrand Abidi.Whether it was his personal grudges or he was following the party’s policy that Mr Abidi strongly criticised not only his ‘favourite target’ – the chief justice – but also the media and over-praised Pakistan Army and the spy agencies for their role in war on terror. Exceeding all limits, after the chair announced 15-minute break for Magrib prayers, Senator Abidi while leaving the House used abusive language against the CJP.“We need to find out the ultimate beneficiaries, who are presently serving different institutions in different capacities, of law and order situation in the country. These personalities are those who are praised by the Taliban also,” Abidi said while pointed towards the CJP without naming. Abidi said armed forces are Pakistan’s asset, but judiciary was deliberately targeting that prestigious institution without knowing that their act would weaken country’s frontiers.“It’s a lie that Army wanted to takeover Pakistan in current scenario, as they are busy in fighting war of their survival,” Abidi said, adding the next war on Pakistani political front would be fought between army and the judiciary. He said it was useless to hold debate on law and order situation and called for effective legislation at the earliest to remove lacunas in Pakistani anti-terrorism laws so that pronounced terrorists don’t get scot-free.He said during last three years, the judiciary bailed out some 22,000 terrorists and let them go on parole. “What they (released terrorists) will contribute to society. They are killers and they are doing their job.” He said bullets were fired from Lal Masjid on Pakistan Army and Rangers and head of the mosque had taken the responsibility of those attacks but what happened as finally the court released all the accused including the seminary head.It is also strange that an anti-terrorism court awarded 70-time death sentence to a killer but within a month he was bailed out by a high court, he said, adding the system of justice in the country was paralysing fabric of the society but no one was paying heed to the issue. Faisal Raza Abidi also claimed that Taliban mindset has highjacked Karachi city. He said army should be given seven days to deweaponise Karachi city.Finally talking about what he called “his victimisation” at the hands of the CJP, he said, he should be given one chance to prove allegations he had levelled against the chief justice, saying if he failed to prove those, he (Abidi) would face punishment. He said an adhoc judge of a high court had made mockery of the Supreme Judicial Council when he imposed a ban on “my participation in current affairs programmes”. He said SJC’s rules allow him to level allegations against any of the judges, including the CJP. He said CJP should inform the public if he was entitled to three government accommodations currently under his occupation and a squad of 47 police vehicles.Talking on a point of order, Mir Hasil Bazinjo of National Party clarified that it was not his family or him who was claimed to be given money by the ISI in the apex court’s decision. On that Senate chairman advised him to file review petition in the court to make the record straight. Later the House was adjourned to meet again on Monday (November 12).

 
 
on epaper page 12
 
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