Parliamentary body on Karachi, Balochistan has done nothing


The sincerity of the government’s claims in making parliament supreme can be assessed from the fact that a special parliamentary committee constituted in August 2011 to review the deteriorating law and order in Karachi and Balochistan, which was supposed to present its report in the National Assembly within two months, has still not come up with a single recommendation on how to curb violence in Sindh’s capital and Balochistan despite the passage of more than five months.
The four members of the committee belonging to the leading opposition party – the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Khwaja Mohammad Asif, Zahid Hamid and Rana Tanvir Hussain have also not raised the issue of the committee’s failure to prepare recommendations to establish peace in two restive regions of the country.
On August 12, the National Assembly unanimously adopted a motion to form a special parliamentary committee comprising members of all parliamentary parties to review law and order in Karachi and Quetta and report in two months. In pursuance of the unanimously adopted motion, National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza constituted a 17-member all-party special parliamentary committee on Karachi and Balochistan on August 28. After electing Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khurshid Shah as its chairman, the committee has met only three times, with the last meeting held on October 13, 2011.
PPP MNA Nasir Ali Shah from Quetta, who had also raised the issue of targeted killings of people from the Hazara community in the House, said that it was unfortunate to note that the committee had still not come up with any output on unrest in Balochistan despite the passage of five months. “The committee has not even visited Quetta yet… the committee has just proved to be a show-piece. When the government does not want to resolve issues, the committees are constituted to deal with them,” he said.
The special parliamentary committee has also failed to woo angry Baloch leaders for talks. On October 13, 2011, the committee in its last meeting had pledged to visit Quetta and meet the angry Baloch elders and other stakeholders. A member of the committee who wished to remain unnamed said the angry Baloch leaders had flatly refused to have talks with the special parliamentary committee, therefore the committee postponed its visit to Quetta. “There is huge trust deficit and the Baloch nationalist leaders do not trust Islamabad and seek strong guarantees that the recommendations of the parliamentary body would be fully implemented without any procrastination by the federal government… on the other hand, we (the committee) are not in a position to give guarantees,” he added. When asked to comment on the sluggish attitude of the committee, Sardar Yaqoob Khan Nasir, PML-N MNA from Balochistan, said the government gave very little respect to parliament. “The PPP government in the last three-and-a-half years did not act upon any parliamentary resolution… the decisions of parliamentary standing committees are not implemented by the executives… the incumbent government of so-called democrats is worse than the rule of dictator (Pervez) Musharraf,” he said.