Saturday, March 5, 2011

South Punjab hub of terror, NA told

March 05, 2011 ,ISLAMABAD -

Interior Minister Rehman Malik while refusing to step down on Friday rejected the claims that the murder of Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti was a security lapse. Members from both treasury as well as opposition in the National Assembly had demanded resignation of Rehman over what they said the killing a serious security.

The House continued its debate on the second day to pay homage Bhatti and discuss his murder.

The legislators held the Interior Minister responsible for his negligence on security matters saying it was the third attack on an important government personnel in the secure area of the Capital after the attacks on Punjab Governor Salman Taseer and on Hamid Saeed Kazmi, former Religious Affairs Minister. Kazmi had narrowly escaped the attack. Jamshed Dasti of PPP gave strict remarks about the Interior Minister when he said that Malik should resign on the issue, as he was a non-political personality having no orientation to tackle the situation.

The concluding speech of the Interior Minister Rehman Malik became more political when he attacked the opposition benches instead of informing the House about any pre-emptive measure adopted by the government and a clear policy in the backdrop of Bhatti's killing.

The Interior Minister flatly refused that the killing of Shahbaz Bhatti was a security lapse adding that he was ready to appear before any forum like judicial commission else and would step down if security negligence is proved on his part. He while passing the buck on the other government functionary, said that it was the responsibility of the Cabinet Division to provide a bulletproof vehicle. The Minister claimed that his speech was based on facts before he made his rhetoric to counter the arguments of the opposition.

The minister informed the House that Bhatti had been provided proper box security compromising personnel of capital police and FC conceding that he was receiving life threats. While criticizing the opposition benches, he said that he had moved to the Cabinet to get permission for import of duty-free bulletproof vehicles for ministers at a time when Leader of the Opposition Ch Nisar Ali Khan had demanded withdrawal of security from the ministers.

He said that those demanding his resignation should know that the Lal Masjid Operation had also taken place during their regime that had killed many innocent people. "Those who are blaming me for the three terrorist incidents taken place in the capital, I want to inform them that a trained constable of Punjab police targeted Salman Taseer. They should know that the attack on Major General Mushtaq, GHQ, FIA Office, Lahore, Moon Market, and on Maulana Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, all had taken place in Punjab and why didn't they resign at that time," he said.

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