Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani on Monday directed the government to inform the House about the reports of former Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Raheel Sharif’s appointment as chief of 39-nation Islamic Military Alliance formed to combat terrorism.
He asked Defence Minister Khawaja Asif: “You, Defence Minister, have also half-heartedly confirmed that former army chief has been appointed as chief of 39-nation Islamic Military Alliance, for which I’m asking some questions which you’ve to answer on Wednesday.”
In his ruling Rabbani also sought clarification from the defence ministry whether any no-objection certificate (NOC) was issued to General Raheel before he embarked upon a journey to seek job in Saudi Arabia. He also asked whether the former army chief sought any permission from the government and took the federal government into confidence before accepting the offer from the Saudi government.
He also directed the government to clarify what would be the repercussions if the former army chief had been appointed as chief of the military alliance, which had earlier been discussed in the parliament. Minister for Defence Khawaja Asif said as he was not sure about the new job of the former army chief, adding that all the details would be provided to the House.
The former army chief had turned down an extension in service that was largely appreciated. But his decision to accept the offer from Saudi Arabia drew a mixed reaction from different quarters soon after his retirement, as Pakistani leaders had earlier refused to become part of the coalition of the Islamic countries.
Saudi Arabia insists that the alliance has been formed to fight ISIS and other militant outfits. At the time of its constitution, there were 34 countries in the alliance which have increased to 39. The countries include Turkey, the UAE, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Sudan, Malaysia, Egypt, Yemen and others. The Joint Command Centre, headquarters of the military alliance, is located in Riyadh.
The lawmakers also lauded the suo motu notice taken by Chief Justice of Pakistan over torture on Tayyaba, a 10-year-old housemaid, by the wife of district and sessions judge Islamabad.
After referring the issue to Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights, the chairman Senate observed that the judge from whose residence the minor girl was recovered as well as the one who struck a deal between the parents of the victims and the judge should have been suspended to ensure a free and transparent probe into the matter.
“The girl was brutally tortured because she was the daughter of a poor…It is not enough if I say the issue has put our heads to shame. We must not blame the judiciary for this as such incidents have become a routine matter and the state has badly failed to protect its daughters,” he added.
Senator Muhammad Ali Saif of MQM said the criminal justice system should be revamped. Senator Hamdullah Khan of JUI-F questioned who will bring judge to stand in the dock? Senator Mushahidullah Khan of ruling PML-N termed the issue a test case for the top judiciary, saying those who helped their colleague judge in striking a deal without any punishment, should also be taken to task.
He openly sent a message to Supreme Court that the suo motu taken by the chief justice would be of no use if the accused district and sessions judge was not summoned by the court, adding the judge along with those who bailed him out should be made an example.
Some of the lawmakers blamed the incident as a collective social evil, for which the society as a whole should rethink, but a Senator Usman Khan Kakar confronted his colleagues not to give a clean chit to the state as it is responsibility of the government to rein in the corrupt whether in judiciary, bureaucracy, or anywhere else.
The chairman Senate also issued orders to the interior minister to brief the House today (Tuesday) about four human rights activists, along with a university professor Salman Haider, who have gone missing from different parts of the country.