Senator warns against secret moves to mainstream militants

F.P Report

Islamabad: Senator Farhatullah Babar today warned against any secret move to mainstream militant organizations in the country which he said could spell disaster for peace in the region. “The government to come out clean and place all facts before the Parliament for discussion and debate”.

Speaking on an issue of public importance in the Senate today he said that he had no proof but several strange happenings recently were alarm bells that lent credence to the suspicion that something was afoot.

He said the participation of banned outfits in the recent elections in NA 120 and in NA 4, the emergence of Milli Muslim League, the declaration by JuD to enter into electoral politics and the suspicious silence over the fate of Ehsanullah Esan the self confessed murderer of APS Peshawar children indicated that something was cooking.

Mainstreaming of the militants involved in the killing of innocent people and launching deadly attacks in neighboring countries will be seen as an act of provocation with disastrous consequences, he warned.

He said that elements inimical to Pakistan will immediately seize upon it and accuse Islamabad of lending legitimacy to the violent non state actors.

On another issue of public importance he drew attention towards the shrinking space of the civil society organizations and said that any policy about the NGOs must be based in legislation and not in executive orders.

He said that the civil society based on freedoms of association and freedom of expression is a valuable partner and not a threat to the state and regretted the enlargement of footprint of securities agencies in dealing with them. He said that statement by minister of state for interior in the senate two days ago and the formal reply given to a question in the Senate today was a proof that secret state agencies were the final arbiters of which NGO be allowed to work.

Entrusting the task of registration to police or secret agencies is alike asking the wolf to guard the lamb.

He said that it has been claimed that the policy was based on Fatemi report but the report was never made public. The government is happy with the NGOs that relieve the state of responsibility of building schools and hospitals. Indeed it is so favorably disposed that even banned outfits are allowed to do it. But it has problem with those who uphold the rights of the people and those demanding justice.

Civil society do not merely disburse charity. They also work to empower youth, women and minorities, combat hate speech and end corruption and promote rule of law. They are necessary because it means more participation. By reducing their space we are rejecting peoples’ participation. State policies dealing with the NGOs calls for discussion and debate among all stake holders and through legislation and cannot  be left to the police, or interior or secret agencies, he said.