ISLAMABAD - Former Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday demanded summoning of Senate Committee of the Whole House to discuss ‘never-ending’ extra-judicial killings by the law enforcement agencies in the wake of Sahiwal tragedy.

Speaking on a point of public importance in the Senate on Tuesday, Pakistan People’s Party Senator Rabbani said that the Parliament would have to play its role to end the ‘decades-old extra-judicial killings in the hands of the state’.

“I through the chair would request leader of the house and opposition leader to summon a meeting of Committee of the Whole House under the rules,” he said, adding that he had been seeing Sahiwal incident like extra-judicial killings ‘under a policy of the state and a well thought-out plan’. These killings had a long list starting from the judicial murder of PPP founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to the killing of Baloch nationalist leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, he said.

He continued that when the state realised impossible for it to eliminate the terrorists while remaining within the ambit of the law, it ‘gave license to extrajudicial killing’. When they gave the license, there left no obstacle, he said, adding that then they witnessed Sahiwal like incidents where in parents were killed in front of their children. “The children whose smile is the future of this country, the state was supposed to give them the smile, but it snatched that smile from them,” he lamented.

Rabbani said that they witnessed personnel of the state kept targeting a couple with bullets while riding a scooter in Karachi. He went on to say that this has compelled him to recall what former opposition leader in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan used to say: “The state will be like a mother.”  “But now the state has become like a witch that is killing the innocent citizens through its violent tactics,” he said.

“In which direction we’re heading? Which system is this,” he questioned and added: “Even our civil law has four different applications.” He said that the then military courts were established but even then extrajudicial killings did not stop. He warned unless there is no rule of law, this situation will persist. He further said that the matter has not stopped to enforced disappearances, and again questioned whether journalists are not being picked up and is not there pressure on media owners to lay off those journalists who are not towing the line of the state.

In such a situation, he stressed that it was the responsibility of the Parliament to take the lead. And if the parliament failed to stop all this, the history will place it in the category where it will place the criminals, he concluded. 

Earlier, PML-N Senator Salahuddin Termizi while and National Party Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed argued that the office of the President in the present parliamentary system had lost its utility.

“The vision of our president is to perform Hajj along with his family at state expense and get salute from armed forces on March 23 and August 14. There are no importance of presidents in the country except US,” Senator Tirmizi lamented. He proposed that if such address to the joint sitting was so important, then prime minister should deliver such an address instead of the President.   

However, PPP Senator Rehman Malik opposed the fellow senators and said that there was need to enhance the image of President’s office. “Before his address to the joint sitting of parliament, he should also visit all electoral colleges which include Senate and the 4 provincial assemblies,” he proposed.

State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan winding up the debate said that who so ever should be in the office of President, should be given respect.

Speaking on a point of public importance, PKMAP Senator Usman Kakar warned not to treat people of erstwhile FATA like people of Bangladesh which resulted in disintegration of the country. He also said that spokesperson of Saraiki National Party Hamid Kanju had been picked up by some persons in plain clothes earlier this month and demanded that the matter should be referred to committee concerned of the house. The chairman sought report from Punjab government.