Opp cites US report as proof of bomb at Marriott
ISLAMABAD: Citing a report by an American firm affiliated with the US State Department, the Senate opposition on Saturday questioned the government’s explanation that a short circuit caused the Marriott Hotel explosion.
Speaking on a point of order, Senator Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians said the government was sticking to its initial explanation.
A news wire reported that the Overseas Advisory Council, a US State Department-run clearing house for security information, said in a report that the blast was caused by an improvised explosive device.
“The Pakistan government always gets American certification to validate its acts. But the US State Department is not ready to buy their story about the hotel blast,” Mr Rabbani said.
The US Embassy in Pakistan has advised its citizens to stay away from the hotel, he said, quoting the wire service story.
Mr Rabbani said this contradiction suggests that the government is hiding the facts from the public. “It is a matter of the government’s credibility and people should be taken into confidence,” he said. He said the opposition condemns terrorism and has offered its support to the government in its fight against terrorism. “But the government should also take the people into confidence because it cannot fight terrorism alone,” he said.
The minister of state for the Interior, Shahzad Wasim, said the government’s statement on the blast and injuries was factual and he stood by it. The minister said that a high-level investigation committee had been formed to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident. Its report would be made available to the house.
“The government has nothing to hide from this house,” he said. Several opposition senators wanted to speak on the issue on a point of order, but Senate Chairman Muhammadmian Soomro did not allow further discussion, stating that the point had been made by Mr Rabbani.