Blame game: With fiery speech, PML-N throws down the gauntlet

By Irfan Ghauri / Zia Khan

After three years of docility, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has thrown down the gauntlet, threatening the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) with a vigorous campaign to make it more accountable. The opposition party also blasted security agencies for “meddling in the political affairs of the country” and “going beyond legal boundaries”.

Main opposition party questions the political role of secret agencies. PHOTO: FILE

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan vowed that his party would hold the government accountable and launch a protest campaign first inside the parliament and then outside the house until the authorities mend their ways.

On the first day of the new session of the lower house, Chaudhry Nisar kicked off with a debate on President Asif Ali Zardari’s address to the joint sitting of parliament.

He criticised the country’s intelligence agencies, mainly the Inter-Services Intelligence, for meddling in political affairs and other matters legally beyond their mandate.

“We will not allow any new Kargil where someone is blamed for somebody else’s doings. This parliament must be informed about the role that intelligence agencies are playing in the making and breaking of political parties today. If they go beyond their role of safeguarding the geographical boundaries of the country and indulge in political affairs, we will be left with no option but to expose them,” Chaudhry Nisar said.

The PML-N leader appeared concerned about the various formulae being discussed in the country’s future political scenario a national government being one of the options under discussion in different quarters, whereby the two main parties, the PPP and the PML-N, can be major losers.

Chaudhry Nisar reiterated the offer to hold out a helping hand to the PPP in terms of protecting the democratic set-up in the country and asked them to keep a check on the activities of the intelligence agencies and make them accountable to parliament.

“A day after Raymond Davis was released, the head of the agency that played an important role in the game was given an extension by the prime minister,” he said without naming Gen Shuja Pasha, the director general of the ISI.

He said the nation must be informed regarding the facts in terms of the release of Davis, a CIA operative accused of murdering two Pakistani nationals in Lahore.

Chaudhry Nisar claimed that Davis’ passport was still in the custody of the Punjab government and questioned how he had been allowed to leave the country without a passport when his name was also on the exit control list. He said his party was against the separate meetings of foreign dignitaries at the GHQ.

The leader of the opposition also castigated the government for its failure to deal with lawlessness, inflation and petroleum price hikes and the curbs on media.

From Wednesday onwards, Chaudhry Nisar said, the PML-N will start a protest campaign in the parliament against the release of Raymond Davis and the curbs on media which would continue till the government presents the facts before the house.

The PML-N leader heaped scorn at Law Minister Babar Awan, for switching loyalties and questioned his actions as being dubious. Once a staunch supporter of Gen Ziaul Haq, he said, the minister has repackaged himself as a Bhutto loyalist.

Regarding the filing of reference in the Supreme Court by President Zardari, Chaudhry Nisar said it was merely an exercise to befool the masses since it was an established fact that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s hanging was a judicial murder.


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