Pakistan’s joint parliamentary session has expressed concern over the increasing terrorist activities carried out by the banned group, Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Raza Rabbani, a senator from the Pakistan People’s Party, requested an in-camera briefing from the military leadership on the failed peace talks with the militants during the session.
Raja Pervez Ashraf, the Speaker of the National Assembly, led the session, which saw several legislators criticize the decision to engage in dialogue with militants. As a result of the rising militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the military should be invited for a confidential briefing.
Additionally, the lawmakers expressed concern that the escalating security situation poses a threat to businesses and trade communities in the region, as ordinary citizens live in fear and are not adequately protected.
Shazia Marri, the Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety, supported Rabbani’s request for an in-camera meeting to discuss the facts behind the escalating situation. In her remarks, she stressed the need for Pakistan to establish durable peace in order to address other issues, including the economic crisis.
As Marri noted, the parliament has always played an important role in preventing terrorist attacks, such as the Peshawar Police Lines mosque blast and the Army Public School attack. She underlined that the 20-point National Action Plan, which was created following a joint parliamentary meeting, should be completely implemented to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. According to Marri, extremism and terrorism share the same narrative and mindset. As a result, she advised that a counter-narrative must be devised in order to succeed in the war against them.
Earlier, Senator Rabbani questioned why the Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah was absent from the discussion on law and order. According to him, the government should issue a policy statement on terrorism during the joint session. As well, Senator Mushtaq Ahmed expressed concern about the traders’ community, which he believes is at risk.
He claimed that the writ of the state is not visible in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where terrorism has been rampant for some time. According to Ahmed, the increase in militancy has forced businesses to leave the region. He argued that the government seems “helpless in front of terrorist attacks,” and that people are living in fear, without adequate security.
In addition, Ahmed criticized the government’s response to the Peshawar suicide blast and questioned why no one resigned after the attack. As a result of the fatwa issued by 2,000 scholars against armed conflict and terrorist attacks, the ideological basis for terrorism has been eliminated. Additionally, Ahmed demanded an investigation into the TTP’s ability to return to Swat and attack the CTD office.