Islamabad, 7th February 2022: Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman called an Adjournment motion on the recent surge in terrorist activities targeting Pakistan’s soldiers and citizens, both from Afghanistan and in Balochistan and said, “With a heavy heart I must condole the martyrdom of 5 soldiers due to terrorist attacks from Afghanistan. The PPP and the joint Opposition categorically condemns these attacks. In fact, I urge the whole house to condemn this reprehensible incident and to put conspiracies to bed that Pakistan has been involved in such activities. These are conspiracy theories put forward by the international community to forgo accountability for their own hand in the developing situation in Afghanistan. Over 60,000 of our own soldiers have been martyred during the so-called “War of Terror” in Afghanistan and yet we are in a position where our commitment against violent extremism is questioned at international forums.”
She continued, “These terror attacks are of a grave nature and Pakistan has paid a terrible price for terrorism. What is shocking is that The Interior Ministry claims that the TTP was responsible for these attacks, yet it is the government who at different levels kept wanting to negotiate with the TTP – a terrorist entity that has openly announced Jihad against the country. The same terrorist group that the government was open to giving amnesty to.”
She said, “Afghanistan is not the responsibility of Pakistan alone but of the International community as a whole. The international community refuses to accept their part in the political and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, their own report states that they spent $14 trillion in Afghanistan in the 20-year long war, which has now jettisoned the whole country into a humanitarian crisis that at least the UN and some counties are trying to mitigate .”
“Despite this, it is salutary that American democracy continues to ask tough questions of its own leadership, to have hearings in Senate regarding this issue, with broad discussions and representation from various ministries and military offices across the government. This is an example of democracy that our country has failed to achieve. Why have there been no meetings of the Committee of the whole for this urgent and ever-developing crisis across our very own border? The very border where the fencing separating our states has been uprooted by the Taliban and yet our government has failed to hold the subverters to account. If we want to be taken seriously, as a truly sovereign nation, then Pakistan needs to publicly hold all that undermine our borders accountable.”
The Senator continued, “Furthermore, we need to establish clarity in our internal narrative, which has currently no head or tail due to the complete lack of consensus on issues of both national concern and foreign policy. Giving amnesty to the TTP – the same people who killed Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, workers of the ANP and 148 school children in APS – was being discussed by this government. Not only will these tragic and horrific events be remembered in history, but so will the government’s response to them or the lack thereof. Now, Pakistan must hold the Afghan Taliban accountable for this uptick of terror activity we are seeing, today. We need to establish a position of strength without the use of sanctions which only ever hurt the vulnerable, the women and the children of every country.”
Looking to the other side of the border, she said, “The elections in UP are on the horizon and the Hindutva brigade is on the rise. Whether it is conspiracy theories regarding “Love Jihad,” innocent civilians being killed in Kashmir, journalists jailed or the deplorable “Auction” website for Muslim Indian women, a certain narrative is being propagated within the borders which is far from victimless.”
“Despite this, the ceasefires must stay the course, because ceasefires all over the world are put in place to protect populations. Indian authorities have taken to provoking us by spreading misinformation and propaganda. Contrary to the Indian Army Chief’s statements, we must set the record straight: the ceasefire agreement at the Line of Control between Pakistan and India was negotiated, not by India from a position of strength but because China was at their border. All humanitarian steps must be taken at all borders and even in times of war. This is the belief of a civilised country. But their false narrative of coming from a position of strength statement must be condemned. Only the ISPR responded to this. Why did the government not respond to this statement? It is certainly the need of the hour,” she said.
She concluded by saying, “a National security document is all very well, but it has no meaning without buy-in from parliament or when there is no will or path towards the regional connectivity and economic centering it recommends. Pakistan has been put in a perilous economic situation with no transparency from a confused government that is unable to negotiate with multilateral bodies to secure better terms. These are serious challenges that are only getting compounded by the day. To discuss these issues the Chair must call a meeting of the Committee of the Whole.”