ISLAMABAD - The government informed the National Assembly on Thursday that a targeted cleanup operation led by Sindh chief minister will essentially be conducted in Karachi against the criminals.

The PML-N government's intention to launch an operation was broadly endorsed by the House but the MQM members expressed their concerns on it and staged a protest walkout against the overnight arrests of its workers.

The House at the start of proceeding also saw a heated debate as the lawmakers of treasury (PML-N) and opposition (PPP) blew hot and cold over latter’s concerns for not taking the parliament into confidence on important matters, including dialogue with Taliban and situation at the Line of Control (LOC). Taking the floor, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that Advisor to PM on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz would brief the House today (Friday) on important matters. He said a special meeting of the cabinet would be held at the Governor House in Karachi to discuss the situation in the city.

Nisar stressed that there was need of a targeted operation in Karachi and the team captain would be Sindh chief minister with all administrative powers in his hand. “Time has come to put money where the mouth is... It is not the time for point scoring as there is need of a targeted operation against criminals, extortionists and kidnappers,” Nisar said. The minister said that grand consensus would be evolved before taking any action in Karachi, and he suggested forming a monitoring committee under the supervision of Sindh CM to watch the working of the operation. "This committee will comprise politicians, senior media persons, senior citizen etc," he added. He said the judiciary must also support this operation.

Ch Nisar also dispelled the impression that Rangers have failed to perform, saying why opposition parties did not raise such concerns when they were in power. He also argued that it would be disrespect to the mandate of Sindh government if Karachi is handed over to Army.

About the concerns raised by PPP and MQM senior lawmakers, Ch Nisar said the arrested person in Karachi would be dealt according to the law. The lawmakers from both treasury and opposition parties including PPP, PTI, JI, JUI-F supported the government decision to launch targeted operation in Karachi.

Responding to the criticism of the opposition members over the absence of the ministers from the House, Ch Nisar said it is the collective responsibility of both the treasury and opposition benches to ensure smooth functioning of the House. He assured that the government will always implement the proposals to be floated by this House.

Ch Nisar categorically stated that Pakistan will not support any attack on Syria. He said Syria is an independent and sovereign country and Pakistan cannot support any action against it. He said Sartaj Aziz will brief the House today (Friday) about Pakistan's stance on this issue as well as other important matters.

At the start the proceeding, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah said that incumbent government was not giving importance to parliament in important national matters. "The government is answerable to the parliament... Why it did not share specific time to brief the House on Doha dialogue, Taliban talks, LOC situation and government's stance on Syria,” he said.

He claimed that PPP during its term had always taken opposition into confidence on all the issues and this practice should be maintained. "If the govt cannot take the House into confidence then it should at least take parliamentary leaders into confidence. “Opposition will always help strengthening democracy in the country,” he added.

MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar, on point of order, shared that his party lawmakers, including he himself were on the list of individuals to be arrested prepared by the Sindh government. He demanded assurance from government that the arrested MQM workers would not be mistreated and tortured. The MQM lawmakers also staged a walk out from the House in protest against the arrest of workers in Karachi.

Sharing his views on President's address, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, came down hard on both PPP and PML-N for not forming truth and reconciliation committee. “If consensus could not be built on Kalabagh Dam, why PML-N government is intending to drop Bhasha Dam and now talking about Dasu,” he added.

Later, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that trains' security has been increased to ensure safety of passengers and railways tracks. He informed the House that threatening calls for extorting money were being made from Afghanistan. He said that no anti-terrorist training was given to Railways police.