ISLAMABAD - Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan came under fire by the Opposition members in the Senate on Tuesday for his ‘changing statements’ about August 15 gunman episode in Islamabad which they believed had caused enormous confusion. The Upper House that met with Deputy Chairman Sabir Ali Baloch in the chair took up the issue through an adjournment motion by Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan and Mian Raza Rabbani.

Mian Raza Rabbani from PPPP who initiated discussion raised 17 questions about the episode said that the incident had not only exposed the administrative chaos but also exposed the chaos in the government and its inefficiency.

He was of the view that situation had become more serious after the Interior Minister changed his statements thrice which had added confusion about the entire incident including the credentials of the gunman Sikandar and the authorities supervising the action. Raza said that the Capital city was held hostage for about six hours and then it was political worker Zamurad Khan who finally helped in breaking the siege, which sent a very grave message.

He went on to say that situation become more serious after the Interior Minister changed his statements he made on August 15, 16 and 19 with full of contradictions, adding, that on August 15 it appeared as the Federal government has been completely abdicated.

"There was no Federal government on that day", he said, and criticised the Interior Minister for going to Lahore instead of immediately returning to Islamabad to take over the action.

He also criticised the Minister for issuing instructions and sought to known what were the instructions he had issued to the police authorities.

PPPP Senator was of the view that the people all over the world witnessed the inefficiency shown by the PML-N government, which he believed had raised many questions about the will and the capacity of the Pakistani government in tackling challenges relating to terrorism.

"If the state of Pakistan could not disarm a gunman how the government would hold talks with Taliban", Raza asked.

Senator Abdul Hameed Bangash from ANP also criticised the Interior Minister for taking the matter lightly and said that had the gunman drama prolonged there would have been thousands of Zamurad Khan to intervene, as there was neither the State of Pakistan nor any government.

Paying glowing tributes to Zamurad Khan, Senator Bangash believed that apathy of the government established that 10 people like the gunman Sikandar can comfortably take over the Presidency and Prime Minister House at their will.

"It was a State failure", he said, recommending 'Sitara-e-Jurrat' for Zamurad Khan for brining to end the drama by putting up his life at risk.

Colonel (Retd) Syed Tahir Mashhadi from MQM said that the gunman episode exposed the indecisiveness of the government and lack of its strategy to handle this situation.  He also criticised absence of the Interior Minister from Islamabad on August 15th.

Saeed Ghani from PPPP believed the authorities could have brought to end the drama within 15 to 20 minutes and also criticised the Interior Minister for changing his statements. He said country needs many people like Zamurad Khan who should be followed as role model.

Former Interior Minister Rehman Malik called for bringing to end the blame game between the government and the Opposition for rooting out the menace of terrorism and demanded a House Committee to evolve a meaningful strategy.

He pointed out that disbanded Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was involved in sectarian killings.

Senator Shahi Syed of ANP while congratulating Zamurad Khan demanded resignation from the Interior Minister, adding, that government was confused whether it should fight the terrorists or hold dialogue with Taliban.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed of PML-Q while paying rich tributes to Zamurad Khan said he was disappointed by Prime Minister's speech and said that there should be collective effort in formulation of counter terrorism policy. He also demanded revival of Parliamentary Committee of National Security.

Lala Abdul Rauf of PKMAP, which is one of coalition partners of the PML-N, Haji Muhammad Adeel of ANP, Kamil Ali Agha of PML-Q and Zahid Khan of ANP also spoke on the issue. The House was adjourned to meet again on Wednesday (today).