Senate proceedings: Halt in drone strikes didn’t end terrorism, admits govt

Saturday, June 7th, 2014 6:19:23 by



ISLAMABAD: 

The government conceded that despite its claim that the halt in drone strikes would put an end to terrorism and pave way for smooth negotiations with the Taliban, splinter Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan factions were still carrying out attacks.

The upper house of parliament was supposed to begin with a discussion on the recently promulgated budget but legislators pointed out how there was no let-up in the terrorist incidents, particularly referring to how the state had failed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

There is resurgence in terrorist attacks even though drone strikes were halted, said the leader of the house, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, who is the prime minister’s representative in the Senate.

“It was believed that terrorists attacked because of the drone strikes but there is a possibility that this might not have been true in some cases,” he said. But the TTP is not a monolithic entity, but it comprises 30 to 50 splinter groups who make independent decisions, he explained. “[However,] those who are not willing to talk will be dealt with force.”

Zafarul Haq was replying to a point of order by Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Raza Rabbani, who drew the attention of the house towards the attacks on military personnel near Fateh Jang in which two colonels and three civilians were killed.

Senator Rabbani said that the main reason why such attacks cannot be foiled is the lack of intelligence sharing. The reasons were that junior officers were appointed in the National Counter Terrorism Authority (Nacta), while the National Crisis Management Cell (NCMC) was not functional.

Awami National Party Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that every day several people were killed in Fata but they were not more than a “cold statistic” for the government. Fata seems like it was a place near Somalia or Nigeria, he criticised. “There is no forum to discuss the problems of the area.”

Senator Haji Adeel said the militants reign Peshawar city after nightfall and there were no-go areas in the provincial capital. He revealed that the Frontier Constabulary, which is aiding the military in fighting insurgency in the semi-autonomous Frontier Regions (FRs), had only one rifle for twelve men. He asked the federal government to sit with the KP government and discuss how to tackle the precarious situation.

Apart from the discussion on terrorist attacks, the annual report from the Council of Common Interests (CCI) for 2012-2013 was presented to the house.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2014.



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