ISLAMABAD - Lawmakers from opposition benches in the National Assembly strongly criticised the federal government for Thursday’s Islamabad incident, saying that it was a security lapse that exposed security apparatus.

Urging the treasury benches to apprise the house of the incident, the parliamentarian from opposition side rose on their seats, soon after the question-hour session, and kept establishing security lapse on point of order.

The house, which was to start debate on Presidential address, spent most of the time discussing different facets of the incident in which accused Sikandar kept hostage one part of the capital for over five hours.

Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, on the repeated objections on treasury benches, asked State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab to ensure government’s response on the issue. On it, Shaikh assured the house that the government would share a detailed response with the house on Monday.

Strongly criticising the incumbent government, PPP’s senior legislator Naved Qamar said this incident triggered sense of insecurity in the country. He said that there was need to hold serious debate on the issue in the parliament.

“The government should apprise the house of the incident, as if it could happen in sensitive area of federal capital then the situation of other areas could be imagined,” he added.

The PPP’s MNA also lauded Zamurad Khan saying that his brave attempt had put the insane man’s drama to end. He further raised objection over the role of police pickets. “These police pickets are useless if they only create long queues of commuters,” he added.

PTI’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi on a point of order termed it a security lapse which exposed security apparatus. “It was dangerous, tragic and shameful incident, which exposed the security lapse,” he said. He said that Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar should have briefed the house about the incident.

Qureshi said accused Sikandar was not well trained but he paralysed the whole area for hours. The government was helpless to deal with the single man in sensitive area of the federal capital. He pointed out first two empty rows of treasury benches when Thursday’s incident of Islamabad was being discussed.

MQM’s lawmaker Nabil Gabol, who was present at Thursday’s incident, said this incident exposed that security of sensitive areas including President House, PM House and National Assembly. He appreciated the four constables who opened fire on accused Sikandar sensing the gravity of situation.

“This incident exposed security lapse and what will happen if banned organisations members came here,” said MQM’s lawmaker. He also appreciated Zamurad Khan for showing courage to overcome the armed man.

On the same issue, AML chief of his own faction Sheikh Rashid said that this had provided a lot of information to extremists as how could only one man paralyse the whole area. “Untrained man paralysed the system and even rubber bullets or any other system is not available,” he said, and warned that National Assembly (NA) and Parliament Lodges could not be considered as safe places after this event. He said that this incident has exposed the competence and training of the law enforcement agencies.

A PML-N legislator Arifa Khalid, on a point of order, said that situation was handled with care to avoid any loss of human life. “I visited the places and talked to the wife of accused. I requested her to hand over me children but she was not ready,” she said. She further said that respect of police was the responsibility of every citizen and no one should be allowed to take law into his hands.

Earlier, Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada in question-hour informed the house that elements who wanted to malign Pakistan are involved in killing of tourists in Gilgit-Baltistan. Sharing the figures, he said around 1,161,245 tourists from inside and outside the country visited Pakistan’s various areas during 2011. He said that around 906,818 tourists visited during 2010 while 966,277 tourists visited Pakistan’s various areas during 2011.

To another question, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said that there are 1.62 million registered Afghan refugees in the country. He said that efforts are being made to register the unregistered refugees. He said 3.8 million Afghan refugees have been repatriated to their homeland during the last 11 years.

To another question, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmed said that Pakistan has granted MFN status to all the members of WTO on reciprocal basis except India and Israel. The minister said that there was no shortage of wheat in the country and PASSCO has been allowed to export one million ton of wheat.

To a supplementary question, he said India had never give positive response and presently both the countries were not enjoying good relations. “We want good relations with neighbouring countries but India has not given positive response,” he added.