ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Monday witnessed a heated debate between Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan and opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah, who indulged in personal attacks and mudslinging.
They also made veiled threats to each other. The debate on a privilege motion about offloading of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed from a PIA flight a few days back degenerated into use of bad language and accusations when Shah spoke, calling upon the government to take the issue seriously. He demanded the government summon US ambassador in Pakistan to lodge a protest over the incident. Sheikh Rasheed was stopped from proceeding to Canada on a security alert issued by the US airport security agency.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan reminded the opposition leader that the agreement under which Rasheed was barred from proceeding to Canada was signed in the previous government’s tenure, during which US forces also intruded into the country, a reference to a operation by US forces to kill al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. The minister asked what did those people who are now talking against the US do when they were in power and the US intruded into the country.
He said that government has no objection to the privilege motion of Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed but the way the issue was blown up is not appropriate. Nisar’s criticism of the previous PPP government evoked a severe response from the PPP benches, and some members of the PPP kept interrupting Nisar by shouting. Immediately after Nisar, Shah again took the floor and said, “If someone wants to bring up issues of the past then we are also ready to accept this challenge,” Shah said that added that they are not afraid of threats because if they could face generals during dictatorship then no other can frighten us.
In an apparent reference to Nisar, Shah said that we did not write a letter to Gen Pervez Musharraf to save own skin, and advised the minister to not destroy the environment of the House. Meanwhile, Nisar retorted by referring to the signing of the NRO with Musharraf and said that he knows the credibility and integrity of those who are making hue and cry over the issue.
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