ISLAMABAD - Chairman Senate on Thursday referred the matter of a PML-N resolution about establishment of a House committee to inquire into the Karachi incident, to the Law Committee after the government opposed it.

The House met here with Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair. At the outset of the proceedings, Leader of the Opposition, Raja Zafar-ul-Haq moved the resolution, asking the Chairman to immediately constitute a House committee which could determine the circumstances under which the Karachi incident occurred. He said the incident carried legal as well as political implications. However, Federal Minister for Information Shibli Faraz opposed the resolution, saying the opposition instead of focusing on the ‘crime’ was more interested in ‘Who did what’ subsequently. He said the opposition parties were giving the incident a political touch and creating confusion. “They should have condemned it [sloganeering by Capt. (Retd) Safdar] rather, they are exerting pressure [on the government] to divert attention from the real crime,” he added.

The minister also defended PM’s decision of not contacting the Sindh administration after the incident, saying he [PM] had nothing to do with the incident. “Why the PM should have telephoned [to Sindh government],” he posed a question. He claimed that the opposition had been sabotaging the economy and national interest. The minister asked the Chairman not to entertain PML-N’s resolution. He said debate must be on who violated the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum after which Chairman Senate Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani referred the matter as to entertain the resolution or not, to the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.   

Leader of the House, Senator Dr Shahzad Waseem also opposed the resolution, saying two inquiry committees had already been constituted; one by the COAS and the other by Sindh government. He said, “We should wait for the outcome of the inquiries.” He said, “Sanctity of the mausoleum was violated, complaint lodged, police is under Sindh government and it was all normal until 48 hours after the incident.” He suggested that findings of the ongoing inquiries should come first and then the House should take up the issue. 

Treasury Senator Waleed Iqbal observed that opposition was focusing more on the ‘effect’ and not ‘cause’. He said videos must be played in the House to show how the incident started. He told the opposition members that special law called “The Quaid-i-Azam’s Mazar (Protection and Maintenance) Ordinance, 1971” was promulgated by PPP’s Founding Chairman Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as Chief Martial Law Administrator of the country. He appreciated Chief Minister Sindh for condemning the incident of violating sanctity of the mausoleum and asked the opposition members to also strive for “Quaid-e-Azam ko izzat do.”  

PPP senator Raza Rabbani termed the arrest of Capt. (Retd) Safdar and ‘abduction of IG Sindh’ as two serious issues and said that intervention of the Senate was necessary at the moment. “The Centre directly intervened into the province’s affairs and provincial autonomy was trampled.” He said the incident had repercussions if not addressed instantly. Law Minister Farog Naseem was of the view that if a crime was committed, the culprit must be punished.  

Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman was of the view that Senate was the Upper House of the Parliament and it was important that the Senate should plays its role in this regard. “Just the executive playing its part is not enough,” she argued. Terming it a big incident, she said it was affecting the relationship between the provinces and the federal government. An IG was abducted and made to sign the FIR under duress. 

Later, the House was adjourned due to lack of quorum.