Opp says govt admitted role in nuke proliferation
By Mohammad Imran
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians leader Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan said on Friday that the government had admitted its role in nuclear proliferation, which was a sufficient proof of an international crime.
“The entire episode was mishandled by the government and Dr AQ Khan was brought to the PTV and forced to claim responsibility,” he said while debating the presidential address in the National Assembly. Mr Ahsan said the world saw Pakistan, Iran, Libya and North Korea in the same light now.
“Three countries have admitted that they possessed nuclear capability but Pakistan’s case is different as it has admitted its role in proliferation as a nuclear-capable state,” Mr Ahsan said. He said with the admission of wrongdoings by Dr AQ Khan, the pardon given to him by the government would not end the problem because the international media was not ready to accept the pardon and viewed it as a cover-up.
“We were told that Dr Khan is our hero. We accepted the reality then. We were told that he had committed a misdeed. We accepted that. Later, he was pardoned, we accepted that too. But the question is, how could airplanes fly to North Korea and Timbuktu without the government’s involvement?” he added. The PPPP lawmaker said the government was incapable of independent decision making and decisions were being made by the “agencies”.
“The government must take parliament into confidence and the two national leaders of the political parties and parliament will definitely play their role to bail the country out of this issue but the government is unable to make decisions,” he said. “If the government consults parliament and the real opposition, instead of the friendly opposition, we will suggest that President Musharraf write to the chief justice of Pakistan and ask him to form a three-member commission of Supreme Court judges and they could gain time and the inquiry can continue and people including generals and scientists appear before the commission and the issue will remain pending,” he said. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the “judicial killing” of prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto because former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Nasim Hassan Shah had said the death sentence given to the former prime minister case was given on wrong considerations.
“The lawyer of the late Mr Bhutto had annoyed the judges of the bench,” Mr Ahsan quoted Justice Shah as saying. He also demanded a session of the National Assembly on the issue.
He urged the prime minister that the opposition wanted to work with the government for the sovereignty of parliament, which was the proper forum to make decisions. He said it was unfortunate that the Indian prime minister visited Pakistan but the Islamabad Declaration was approved by the president and not by the Pakistani prime minister. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif said representatives of Pakistan’s 150 million people had surrendered their sovereignty to one man.
Commenting on the presidential address Mr Asif said there was a clear division in the cabinet “with one group representing PML-QA chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the other Prime Minister Jamali”. He warned the treasury lawmakers that the army would “never be loyal” to them. He said the president had talked about good governance in his seven points on December 16 but the Quetta incident, the murder of two young girls in Karachi and the killing of a provincial lawmaker in Sindh “is a clear example of that good governance”.
“We are sowing seeds of hatred in FATA and smaller provinces. We will have to reap the crop. That will be dangerous for the integrity of the federation,” he said.
The PML-N leader said that the president had also claimed that there would be across-the-board accountability but the government had not arrested any general or judge.
The government was taking credit for an increase in Pakistan’s foreign reserves but it must thank Osama Bin Laden, who was blamed for 9/11, and remittance from overseas Pakistanis who were now sending money to the country through legal channels, he said. He accused General Musharraf of surrendering everything to the US in the past four year. MNA Abdul Ghafar Jatoi said every ruler in the past had taken parliament hostage. He urged strengthening of the Constitution and rights for the people. “The National Security Council is imperative to run the country and to keep the balance of power and speakers of the provincial assemblies should also be included in the NSC,” he said.
MNA Bushra Rehman said opposition lawmakers were critising the Pakistan Army while their relatives continued to serve in the army. The speaker adjourned the National Assembly till Monday at 5:00pm.