ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Rehman Malik Tuesday indicated in the Upper House of the Parliament that the government would take up the matter of drone attacks in the United Nations after two opposition parties, including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazalur Rehman (JUI-F) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), staged a protest walkout from the House over the issue.
JUI-F and JI staged a token walkout from the House, saying that there was no lull in US drone attacks after the November 26 Nato forces attack on Pakistani military posts in Salala, Mohmand Agency.
Both the parties condemned the top brass of armed forces and said that they, soon after the incident, had issued a press release that any such attack in future would be well responded to without having any instructions from the proper chain of command.
Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri remarked that why military generals issued the statement if they did not dare respond and counter such attacks. He also said that two resolutions already passed by the Parliament in this regard were not being implemented in letter and spirit. He said the problems currently facing the nation were similar to those in Musharraf regime. "CIA operatives were present in the country at that time. The situation today is also the same," he added.
He also said that Mansoor Ijaz, a central character in memogate scandal, was Ahmedi by his belief, adding that the said community was even against the establishment of Pakistan.
JI also supported JUI-F on the issue after its senior legislator Prof Khurshid Ahmed spoke on the issue. Endorsing Maulana Haideri, he said that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) had issued a press release after Salala incident that if any drone attack was carried out inside Pakistan territory in future, these would be well responded to.
Responding to the senators' queries, Interior Minister Rehman Malik admitted that drone attacks were a clear violation of the country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. "We are with the opposition on the issue and let us hear the voice of the people," he added and proposed that the House should pass a resolution.
He said the government was ready to take up the matter before UN. He also informed that the government had diplomatically conveyed to the countries concerned that these drones should be immediately stopped.
Islamuddin Sheikh, Chief Whip in the Upper House, gave somewhat different version, saying that the government was implementing the resolutions passed by the Parliament and the vacation of Shamsi Airbase from the US forces and blocking Nato supplies were the result of it.
He said it might be possible that the country did not have the technology needed to counter drone attacks. He assured that Nato supplies would only be resumed after recommendation of the Parliament.