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MPs keep squabbling about BJP province
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - Amid fiery speeches from treasury and opposition benches in the National Assembly on proposed new provinces in Punjab, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Thursday introduced the ‘ National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill-2013’. After a barrage of points of order from both sides of the aisle, PPP minister Naveed Qamar introduced the ‘National Counter-Terrorism Authority Bill-2013’ which is aimed at establishing the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NCTA). The statement of objectives reads that the bill addresses the need for a focal institution to integrate and synergise national counter-terrorism and -extremism efforts in view of the nature and magnitude of terror threat. The prime minister will be the chairman of NCTA board of governors and interior minister will assume the vice chairmanship while chief ministers, ISI, IB and FIA DGs will be its members. The Board can invite any person to the meeting. Earlier, the House with sparse presence on treasury benches, witnessed separate walkouts of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the JUI-F on law and order situation in Karachi and imposition of governor rule in Balochistan. Additionally, the ANP, a key coalition partner of the PPP, also hinted to stage a walkout in future if their demand regarding gas connection projects would not be met. Members from treasury and opposition benches continued expressing their views on formation of new provinces in the country on points of order. PML-N leader Murtaza Javed Abbasi, speaking on a point of order, questioned why the PPP had not taken steps to form new province in Punjab earlier. “At the end of its term, the government is planning to carve out new province, which is just a political gimmick. Expressing her views, PML-N legislator Tehmina Doultana came down hard on the Punjab governor, alleging that he had changed his statement regarding formation of new provinces. She stressed that there was need of making two separate provinces, Bahawalpur and South Punjab, in the country. She cast doubts on the sincerity of PPP about formation of new province. Reacting to this, PPP MNA Mehmood Hayat Khan said the PML-N had even not participated in the commission constituted for the formation of new provinces. “Bahawalpur Janoobi Punjab province should be carved out and the PPP will definitely accomplish this task,” he added. An MQM lawmaker lashed out at the PPP for not clarifying the situation after the statement of Interior Minister Rehman Malik regarding wave of terrorism in Karachi. “Banned organisations hold sway in Karachi and the situation is almost like that in KPK and Balochistan,” he said, adding that the PPP government should inform the Karachiites about the situation as panic have gripped the city after Malik’s statement. The MQM walked out from the proceeding of the sitting. Another coalition partner, ANP, came down hard on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for not fulfilling his commitment of providing gas connections in Swabi. “He is the PM of Pakistan, not Gujjar Khan,” said ANP MNA Bushra Gohar, on a point of order. She also criticised Rehman Malik for giving irresponsible statement over Karachi situation. Raising another issue regarding Kargil conflict, in the wake of the revelations made by Lieutenant General (r) Shahid Aziz in his book, the PML-N demanded the PPP government take prompt action on this matter. “If those generals had not done it, the situation of Pakistan would have been different,” said Anusha Rehman, demanding high treason charges against the responsible. Taking the floor, PPP MNA and PAC Chairman Nadeem Afzal Gondal said that the election commission has practically suspended the government by imposing ban on jobs and funds. He said that if funds and jobs were suspended, the government should announce election schedule. PML-Q Likeminded MNA Kashmala Tariq, on a point of order, said that the PTV MD was avoiding appearing in the meeting of the Human Rights Committee, “which is a breach of rules of the NA body”. The statement of objectives states that the NCTA will play a pivotal role by coordinating with all law enforcement agencies in taking effective actions against those carrying out acts of terrorism and extremism, besides preparing comprehensive national counter-terrorism and -extremism strategies.The NCTA will receive and collate information or intelligence and coordinate between authorities to formulate threat assessments with periodical reviews. It will coordinate and prepare comprehensive national counter-terrorism and extremism strategies. It will develop action plans against terrorism and extremism and report to the federal government about implementation of these plans.

 
 
on epaper page 12
 
 
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