Raza Rabbani questions
Pakistan’s policy towards
supporting Afghan Taliban

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ISLAMABAD: Former Senate chairman and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s central leader Senator Raza Rabbani on Friday questioned the government’s haste to extend support to the Afghan Taliban, when the latter did “not even recognise the border”.

Addressing a senate session, Senator Rabbani asked the foreign minister to take the parliament into confidence about a recent incident in which the new rulers in Afghanistan had reportedly barred Pakistan’s security forces from fencing the border.

Pakistani officials have not commented on the incident so far. Pakistan has fenced most of the 2,600km border des­pite protests from Kabul, which has contested the British-era boundary demarcation that splits families and tribes on either side.

Afghan defence ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi had said the Taliban forces stopped the Pakistani military from erecting what he called an “illegal” border fence along with the eastern province of Nangarhar on Sunday.

The fencing was the main reason behind the souring of relations between previous US-backed Afghan governments and Islamabad. The current standoff indicates the issue remains a contentious matter for the Taliban, despite its close ties to Islamabad. “They are not ready to recognise the border, so why are we moving forward?” questioned Rabbani, during the session today.

Senate’s former chairman and PPP’s central leader Senator Raza Rabbani addresses the Senate session on Friday.

The PPP senator also expressed alarm over reports that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was regrouping in Afghanistan, “which could possibly fuel terrorism in Pakistan”. “On what terms is the state talking about a ceasefire with the banned group?” he questioned.

He went on to say that the state of Pakistan meant the civil and military bureaucracy of Pakistan and not the people sitting in parliament.

Senator Raza Rabbani said that the extremists have torn the States writ into pieces, warning that Sialkot lynching-like cases would continue if the root cause of the problem was not uprooted. “Extremists groups were established in the country who ran their own courts in public”.

A charged Rabbani asked the government to divulge the conditions on which the State had brokered a ceasefire agreement with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The former Senate chairman also raised alarm over reports that the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was regrouping in Afghanistan, “which could possibly fuel terrorism in Pakistan”. “On what terms is the state talking about a ceasefire with the banned group?” he questioned.

Sialkot lynching tragedy

During the session, Senator Azam Nazir Tarar took to the floor to speak about the horrific lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara, a factory manager in Sialkot, saying “the incident has shaken us to the core”.

The senator said the brutality with which the mob killed the Sri Lankan citizen was highly reprehensible.

Tarar said the trend of mob violence and torture had increased with time. “This trend sprang up during the era of Gen Ziaul Haq and it was later fanned for political gains,” he added.

“This is the social apathy we all have to fight against,” Tarar said.

He recalled that two brothers were also lynched in the same city by a mob [in 2010]. He said it was parliament’s responsibility to ensure necessary legislations to provide justice to the downtrodden.

Leader of the House in Senate Shahzad Wasim said they have to save their children from extremism. We must unite to legislate, train and train minds against extremism, he elaborated.

Meanwhile, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said a delegation comprising lawmakers from the Upper House will visit Sri Lanka and meet the family of Kumara. “The delegation will present a resolution passed by the Senate to his family,” Sanjrani said.