Debate on TV channel’s role: speaker disallows MNA’s plea
Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lieutenant General Abdul Qadir Baloch (Retd) told National Assembly on Monday that the command of the army was in the hands of a person “who is highly professional, non-political and pro-democracy.”
Speaking on law and order situation in the country, he said: “we should not see things with prejudice. The army will defend its institution; the whole nation is behind democracy and the army will also support the nation.” After the passage of 18th Constitutional Amendment, he argued, it was “100 percent responsibility” of the provincial government to maintain law and order and the federal government must not interfere in it. He said that federal government could provide force to any provincial government on its request. “It is the need of the hour to join hands to maintain law and order situation in the country,” he said.
He said that Rangers had been deployed in Karachi on the request of the Sindh government. He stressed the need for making collective efforts to eliminate terrorism from the country. According to him, in Balochistan, there is a considerable decrease in street crimes, incident of kidnapping for ransom and highway robberies due to steps taken by the provincial government.
The Minister condemned the attack on anchorperson Hamid Mir and said that Supreme Court had constituted a judicial commission on the request of the federal government to investigate the incident. He said a statement of Hamid Mir’s brother came immediately after the incident on a private TV channel. This media house showed irresponsibility and criticised an institution for eight hours without any proof, he said.
“The private media house made mockery of an institution. It tried to implicate the army in this matter. There should be a question mark on such behaviour of a private TV channel. We do not want to impose a ban on freedom of expression,” Baloch said. He said we should have confidence in our institutions and wait for the results of the investigations. He said elements having vested interests created the impression of differences between the government and army.
He said the Army Chief categorically stated in his speech on Youm-e-Shuhada that army fully supports democracy, law and the constitution. Earlier, a motion was moved by Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir for a debate on law and order in the country.
Initiating the debate, MNA Rashid Godiel said it was the responsibility of government to protect the lives of citizens. He said MQM workers were being killed in Karachi and no one was listening to MQM’s complaints. MQM members staged a walkout from the House to protest against this attitude.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) condemned the attack on Hamid Mir, saying it was the duty of the Sindh government to expose the culprits involved in this heinous crime. He said some elements were twisting the debate and painting it as an attack on freedom of expression.
According to him, media is a watchdog and it should play its role with responsibility. He said that a private TV channel had criticised an institution for eight hours without any investigation, “which is not fair.” Federal Minster for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Barjees Thair and Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed exchanged some allegations and counter-allegations.
Sheikh Rasheed said a private TV channel had criticised a national security institution which was not justified. He said the House should initiate a debate on the issue, but the Speaker did not allow his request. The federal minister said that Sheikh Rasheed should resign and leave the House because he had promised that he would resign if dollar rate came down to Rs 100. Taking part in the debate, Muhammad Safdar criticised the policies and performance of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government and said law and order situation was deteriorating in the province. He alleged that a ‘Sifarish’ culture was being promoted in the province.