Pakistan Muslim League-N chief Nawaz Sharif sat stoically listening to his party colleagues’ demand for almost four hours at a consultative meeting here on Tuesday that the party should seek formation of an independent commission to investigate the Abbottabad fiasco, fix responsibility and “roll heads”. At the end of a joint meeting of its central organising committee and parliamentary group held at the Punjab House, the N-League announced that Mr Sharif would speak his mind on Wednesday after another round of consultations with party leaders and other segments of society. Sources in PML-N said the participants called upon the party leadership to press for an independent inquiry into the May 2 US covert operation which killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. According to the sources, the speakers gave proposals regarding the composition of the inquiry commission and its mandate. Some leaders, including MNA Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, however, suggested that it should be a judicial commission. A few suggested that a parliamentary committee should look into all aspects of the Abbottabad incident which, according to them, had brought embarrassment to the nation. Zahid Hamid, a former law minister in the Musharraf government, proposed that the commission should also include representatives of civil society and media and it should be constituted through a parliamentary resolution. It was the first formal meeting presided over by Mr Sharif since his return home last week after undergoing a heart surgery in the UK, where he stayed for over six weeks. He had left for London a couple of days before the dramatic release of US national Raymond Davis who shot to death two youths in Lahore. Besides the Pakistan People’s Party, the PML-N is also facing criticism from various circles for allegedly facilitating the US in securing the release of Davis. Veteran party leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, whose speech last month in the National Assembly caused a sensation among political circles, sat to the right of Nawaz Sharif. Mr Hashmi had called upon Mr Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif to seek an apology from the nation for entering into an exile deal with former president Pervez Musharraf. But he did not speak on Tuesday. In his brief opening remarks, Mr Sharif said the whole nation was in a state of confusion over the US action. He regretted that despite rendering sacrifices in the war against terrorism, Pakistan had today become a target of world criticism. He asked the party to give suggestions as to how “we should react over it and how the country could be brought out of this quagmire”. Some participants said the party should not feel hesitant in criticising any institution responsible for the Abbottabad incident, but others cautioned that the demand for an inquiry should be pursued and criticism of the rulers and armed forces be made in a manner that the enemies of the country did not exploit the situation. But, according to the sources, almost every speaker wanted to know whether the nation could avoid a repetition of the Abbottabad incident by only fixing responsibility. They said since the government itself had admitted that it had been a failure on the part of intelligence agencies, heads must roll regardless of whether they were in uniform or mufti. During a speech in the National Assembly on Monday, Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had called for an investigation into the Abbottabad incident. MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said that while criticising the armed forces and agencies, the party must keep in mind the national interests as well because the country was already under international pressure. He was of the opinion that PML-N should not provide an opportunity to the international community to take advantage of its criticism of the army and intelligence agencies. Most speakers expressed dissatisfaction over the speech by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in the National Assembly on Monday and criticised the government’s response to the Abbottabad operation. MNA Hamza Shahbaz, the son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, said the country “has become a ship without a captain” because of wrong policies of the rulers who had already lost credibility inside and outside the country. Senator Mushahidullah Khan was of the view that the party should play the role of a “true opposition” because it had become the only major opposition party after the PML-Q joined the PPP-led coalition government at the centre. Sheikh Qaiser Mehmood, secretary general of the PML-N’s overseas chapter, urged Mr Sharif to set a timeframe for mobilising the public and bringing them on the streets against the government.
By: Dawn News