LAHORE: Treasury benches in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday passed a resolution in favour of ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’ against the Taliban in North Waziristan Agency after opposition parties jointly walked out of the House to protest against the Model Town incident.
The opposition reiterated its demand that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must resign after assuming overall responsibility of the sanguinary incident.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told the House that his government had nothing to do with the decision of opening fire on the Minhajul Quran International secretariat and that it had not given any such orders. He clarified that the local administration along with the police administration made a decision to remove barriers from the spot.
He reiterated that the government would not allow anyone to establish a “no-go area” anywhere in the province. He said that a judicial commission had been formed and that it would probe into the incident.
The law minister also warned that the government would also take action against any person, who would try to provoke citizens on this issue through the media. He said that dreams of ‘Siyasi Awaragard (political vagabonds)’ and ‘Siyasi Berozgar (political job hunters)’, who never served democracy in the past, would never come true.
He said that he had received an initial report of intelligence and according to it; there were three versions or opinions about the firing incidents.
He informed the House that one of the versions says that police opened fire on citizens while the second version states that the mob opened fire. And, he said, the third version states that both sides resorted to firing.
Meanwhile, members of all of the four opposition parties, including PTI, PPP, PML-Q and JI, joined the proceedings by wearing black armbands as a sign of protest against the Model Town incident.
Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and other members, including Makhdum Shahabuddin and Mian Aslam Iqbal, took turns to strongly condemn the incident on points of order.
Rasheed called the incident “a kind of terrorism by the government against political opponents.”
He said that Rana Sanaullah should also get no-go areas and barriers installed in Jati Umra (residences of the Sharif brothers in the vicinity of Raiwaind) removed. He said that the chief minister’s residence in Model Town and his offices on Club Road and 90-The Mall were also barricaded.
Rasheed said that Shahbaz Sharif must resign if he, as he himself claims, was unaware of the incident that lasted for over 14 hours despite his presence in the city.
He claimed that he has been informed that the Model Town operation was planned during a high-level meeting in which a police officer disapproved it but the authorities concerned remained stuck to their stance to carry it out anyway.
Makhdoom Shahabuddin said that the law minister had owned the police operation in Model Town a day before but that now he (Sanaullah) was denying his own involvement besides shifting the responsibility to the police and local administration. He said that from government actions, it could easily be assessed that the rulers wanted to derail democracy.
The opposition leader announced observing Wednesday as a “day of mourning” before lead a joint walkout.
In the absence of the opposition, the law minister moved a resolution to suspend the rules of business to pave the way for tabling a resolution in favour of ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’.
It is pertinent to mention that an opposition member, Faiza Malik of the PPP, has already submitted an identical resolution in the assembly secretariat.
The government resolution stated that the House fully supported and backed ‘Operation Zarb-e-Azb’, which the army has started against terrorists in North Waziristan on the instructions of the government. The resolution also appreciated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for taking this “brave” decision on a “right time”.
The resolution also prayed for success of the army and other security forces engaged in the operation. It further stated that the House had confidence that the country would become a land of peace after this operation. The house adopted the resolution with a majority vote.
Earlier, special prayer for the victims of Model Town incident was also offered. Later, the proceedings were adjourned until today (Thursday).
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