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Senate HR body takes up Quetta carnage report today

ISLAMABAD: In a first, a parliamentary committee will take up on Monday (today) the findings of a judicial commission set up to investigate the Aug 8 Quetta carnage and the meeting is likely to witness fireworks because the 110-page report has raised serious questions about the performance of Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

The Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights will also discuss other important matters, including the recent mob attack on an Ahmadi place of worship at a village in Chakwal district.

Over 70 people, mostly lawyers, lost their lives in a suicide bombing at the Quetta civil hospital on Aug 8, 2016, and the judicial commission, set up by the Supreme Court in October under Justice Qazi Faez Isa, issued its report last month after conducting an investigation into the tragedy.

The report pointed out flaws in the government’s policy to counter terrorism and expressed concerns over lack of implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism.

Opposition parties have termed the commission’s findings a charge-sheet against the government and demanded resignation of the interior minister. The minister received further wrath of the opposition parties when he at a news conference declared the commission’s findings one-sided.
Chaudhry Nisar may be asked to give his version at the next sitting

Though the Senate in its last session had a fully-fledged debate on the matter, the opposition members protested the absence of Chaudhry Nisar on whose behalf his deputy Balighur Rehman responded to the speeches made in the house.

Chairperson of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights, Nasreen Jalil of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), said she had taken the initiative by making the commission’s report part of the agenda of Monday’s meeting.

Talking to Dawn, Ms Jalil said the committee members would thoroughly debate the report and suggest ways and means for its implementation. She said the report had highlighted major failures of the government, particularly its handling of the issue of banned organisations.

She said that discussion in the Senate was not enough and the committee needed to monitor the implementation of the report on a regular basis.

The committee might call the interior minister in its next meetings to allow him to give his viewpoint.

The commission in its report called for banning terrorist organisations without delay by enforcing the Anti-Terrorism Act in letter and spirit.

It regretted that the interior minister had on Oct 21 met Maulana Mohammad Ahmed Ludhianvi, head of the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan, Millat-i-Islamia and Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, to listen to his demands and, according to media reports, acceded to them.

The commission deplored that the interior ministry did not respond to two letters written by the Balochistan government seeking a ban on Jamaatul Ahrar and Lashkar-i-Jhangvi Al-Aalmi in the aftermath of the Aug 8 attack for their involvement in previous acts of terrorism.
Nacta’s role

The report expressed concerns that instead of taking action, the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta) wrote to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), asking it to submit a report on the veracity of the claims made by the two organisations. The commission said it was illogical for Nacta to seek verification from the ISI to ascertain whether the organisations had carried out the attacks, particularly when they had already claimed responsibility for the assaults.

The commission, which took 56 days to finalise its report, asked the state, which receded in the face of those spreading hatred, to re-exert itself.

The commission stressed the need for registration of all educational institutions, including madressahs; entry into and departure from Pakistan should be properly monitored and all persons must have the requisite documents and be photographed and thumb-impressed by the Federal Investigation Agency.

It regretted that the ministry of religious affairs did not even possess basic data about the seminaries nor did it appear to have the ability to obtain it.

The Senate committee is also scheduled to discuss the attack on the Ahmadis’ worship place in Dhulmial village. On Eid Miladun Nabi, a charged mob of around 1,000 people armed with batons and weapons reportedly besieged the worship place, pelted it with stones and fired on the premises. Later, the police dispersed the crowd and secured the building.

Besides, the committee will receive a briefing on the inquiry into the death of MQM activist Aftab Ahmed in the custody of Rangers in Karachi.

The committee will also consider the Hindu Marriage Bill 2016 which had been referred to it by the Senate in November last year.

courtesy : Dawn News

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