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Charsadda tragedy: Did we build consensus in APCs for nothing, asks Sherry

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Islamabad: January 20, 2016: Condemning the heinous attack on Bacha Khan University today, Vice President Pakistan People’s Party Senator Sherry Rehman asked whether Pakistan had altered our rights landscape and built consensus in APCs against terrorism for the cabinet to ignore sharing details on NAP with parliament? Our children, civilians, police and soldiers are being martyred in Pakistan’s struggle against terrorism, but we continue with operations only in one province, at least given what we can see.

Calling the Charsadda University attack a black day for Pakistan, Rehman, speaking in the Senate, expressed deep grief and support for the families affected by this tragedy.
‘’All of Pakistan is praying for the souls of the martyred children and for their anguished parents,’’ she said.

“In this hour of trial, we stand firmly with those who lost their loved ones. The grief is unimaginable; our children were martyred, and we cannot let this human rampage continue,” Rehman added.

‘’Why was the academic institution not given even the most basic skeletal security protection on a day when they were holding a big event?” she questioned.

“When there were clear threats to colleges in KPK for the last one week and children were returning home from schools, this indifference to a large institution’s security amounts to criminal negligence on the part of governments in charge,” Rehman said, admonishing the government.

Rehman said that she was aware of the need for unity and constructive politics at a difficult time, but questioned the real point to parliament if the federal government refuses to condescend to an in camera joint briefing even now.

Rehman demanded parliamentary oversight on the national action plan by a joint national security committee of parliament in the same manner that the PPP had responded to the Taliban in Swat in 2009. She reminded the House of shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s sacrifice and fearless leadership against terrorism when many people still dithered on the sidelines.

She asked about the viability of the NAP when the top terrorist names in the country ran free in the Punjab, with nothing to show for. Rehman also said that the Senate was waiting for the PM to cut short his visit and return forthwith from Davos to pick up the pieces from a dark and bloody episode that will haunt the country for years.

‘’How much bloodshed are we waiting for in order to take elected representatives into confidence, as we are tired of written or proforma assurances without senior ministers or PM even appearing in the Senate to talk about national security?” she questioned.
“Are we just here to condemn tragedies? We made a national action plan in good faith, surrendered fundamental rights so we could fight the terrorists slaughtering our innocent children, our policemen, our military, for what?’’ asked the Vice President of the PPP.

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