Parliamentarians decry ‘terrorists in uniform’

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The cold-blooded murder of a young man by Rangers in Karachi on Wednesday drew severe condemnation on moral as well as legal grounds from both Houses of parliament on Thursday, as parliamentarians demanded the government give an exemplary punishment to the “terrorists in uniform”. The parliamentarians slammed the recent extra-judicial killings at the hands of law enforcement agencies which, they believed, had turned the country into “a jungle”. The gruesome incident diverted the focus of the parliamentarians from the budget as almost all of them, from across the political divide, vehemently condemned the murder. Passionate and emotional speeches were made by MPs from all the political parties, urging the government to take immediate action against the culprits. Almost all present in the National Assembly were overwhelmed with emotion as veteran PML-N leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi made another extempore, prudent and fiery speech, while Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani assured the House that he would personally ensure that the culprits were brought to justice.
The MQM’s Abdul Qadir Khanzada raised the issue at a point of order and narrated the story of Sarfraz Shah, the young man who was brutally murdered by Rangers personnel. National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza condemned the act and sought a probe into the gruesome incident. “The boy was shot dead in such an atrocious way!” she exclaimed. MNA Justice (r) Fakharun Nisa Khokhar questioned why extra-judicial killings were not drawing any action from the authorities concerned.
Gilani said the incident was a source of concern for the entire nation and he himself would ensure that the culprits were brought to justice. However, he reminded the emotional MPs that any reaction must be kept within the norms and abusive language should not be used against any institution. He said action would be taken and the culprits would be prosecuted, but under Article 63 of the constitution, abusive language could not be used against the superior judiciary and the armed forces. He requested the chair to expunge the language being used against the institutions.
Earlier, speaking on a point of order, PML-N MNA Saad Rafique called the Rangers “terrorists in uniform”. “They have turned this country into a jungle… if anyone writes the truth, he is made Salim Shahzad… Rangers are deployed on borders and if you want them to be deployed in urban areas, you need to train them… I myself heard (Interior Minister) Rehman Malik saying that the youth had tried to snatch a gun from the Rangers… I saw the entire video but did not notice any such action. Rather he was asking for mercy… Rehman Malik is a liar and he is lying just to ensure his job,” said Rafique. He also said that his party could not accept the arrest of the culprits by Rangers personnel and they should be tried under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Javed Hashmi said he had seen the footage of Sarfraz’s murder and could not sleep afterwards. Backing the viewpoint of Rafique, Hashmi said it was an extremely brutal act. “The PM was right that no one should use abusive language against institutions but it is also true that some individuals also bring a bad name to the entire institution. We are fed up of defending our institutions, which have now put the entire nation at stake,” he added. “Do not behave in such a way that the entire nation rises against you, you cannot win a war against your nation. If you respect the nation, you would be loved. But if you make a joke out of the country on the streets, you don’t deserve respect. Otherwise you would mourn but no one would mourn for you. Whether you torture us to death, we would keep speaking the truth,” he said. He warned that the sanctity of the country’s institutions could be sabotaged if the life of a Pakistani could not be honoured and respected.
Leaders of the PML-Q, PPP, MQM and JUI-F also condemned the incident and said that it was the second brutal act by law enforcement agencies after the Kharotabad incident. The PPP’s Farahnaz Ispahani said a sub-committee of the Human Rights Committee would look into the Kharotabad incident as the committee was not satisfied with the investigation done there. Meanwhile, in the Upper House of parliament, senators from the treasury and opposition benches alike expressed grave concern over the brutal murder as well as targeted-killings in Balochistan.