Islamabad - Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi said on Thursday the government will not show any leniency to those who took law in their hands and resorted to vandalism and arsons during the three-day protest over the Supreme Court’s verdict on Aysia Bibi case.

Speaking in the Senate, the minister said the government is carrying out thorough investigation into the incidents of vandalism in the light of data gathered on the basis of the footage of damaging properties and the elements involved in the incidents are being arrested.

“National security is of paramount importance,” the minister told senators and said no compromise will be made in the matter of those who took law into their own hands even if they are found to be part of the Parliament.

The minister further said that footage of protesters, who resorted to vandalism and arson, has been sought from the authorities. Some arrests have been made while more will be materialised in the days to come.

He said the footages of the elements, who ransacked, were shared with Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan and they disowned them. The minister lauded the government’s efforts for ending the three-day long nationwide protests without bloodshed, saying the state had only signed the document because ‘Naya Pakistan’ does not believe in bloodshed.

He said the government successfully held negotiations with the protesters and peacefully resolved the matter. He said there was a consensus among all the stakeholders, including the opposition, that force should not be used against the protesters. He said the Prime Minister also desired peaceful settlement of the issue.

Shehryar Afridi said the government will implement the Supreme Court’s any order in a review petition in the case.

“We didn’t focus on policy-making in the past, which is why it resulted in such circumstances,” he added.

Earlier, the Upper House resumed discussion on the agenda items including loans from foreign countries, increase in the prices of electricity and gas and the country’s foreign policy in the context of Yemen issue.

Taking part in the discussion, Senator Javed Abbasi appreciated the Senate Chairman and the staff of the Senate Secretariat for holding a successful conference of Asian Parliamentary Assembly in Gawadar. He said the event projected soft image of Balochistan and Pakistan in the world.

Criticising the government for increase in the rates of gas and electricity and adding burden of taxes on common people, he urged the government to withdraw this increase. He said the parliament should be informed about the conditions on which a financial package was secured from Saudi Arabia.

Senator Azam Musa Khel said the government should take parliament into confidence about the agreements with various countries for getting loans. He said the join parliament’s resolution on the Yemen issue should be honoured. He said Balochistan is not being given due share under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Speaking in the Upper House, Senator Aurangzeb Khan called upon the government to implement its plans of reconstruction and rehabilitation in the erstwhile FATA areas. He said education and health should be focused for development in the area. He said Khasadar and Levies forces should be strengthened in the areas instead of introducing police force.

Usman Khan Kakar said foreign policy should be revisited and national interests should be secured in it. He said various areas of Balochistan have been facing prolonged power outages, which should be controlled. He also criticized the government for the price-hike.

Senator Hasil Khan Bizenjo said the government had promised that parliament will be taken into confidence before signing any major agreement with a foreign country but the promise was not fulfilled in respect of the recent agreements with Saudi Arabia and China. Speaking on a point of public importance, Senator Muhammad Ali Saif, who recently visited Siachen, said that Pakistan Army troops have been defending the boundaries of Pakistan in Siachen in a very hard weather condition. He said the incentives for the troops deployed at Siachen should be increased.

The opposition pointed out quorum. On this Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani remarked that it was responsibility of the opposition to ensure quorum in the House because they had requisitioned the session.

He followed the procedure and ordered bell ringing and counting of members. On finding the House not in order, the chairman prorogued the session. The President has summoned the Senate to meet again on Friday.