Pakistan: Rabbani criticises police action against protesters

Senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani. — File Photo

Senior PPP leader Raza Rabbani. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Senior PPP leader Senator Raza Rabbani lodged a strong protest in the Senate on Wednesday over the police action against people protesting over power shortage in Faisalabad and termed it a “state terrorism”.

“Yesterday saw the worst show of state terrorism when people were protesting over shortage of electricity in Faisalabad,” said Mr Rabbani while speaking on a point of order soon after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar presented budgetary proposals for the fiscal year 2013-14 in the house for debate.

The PPP senator regretted that the Punjab police had “brutally tortured” the protesters after “scaling walls of the houses”. He said the electronic media showed footage of police personnel using axes to break the doors to enter houses. He said a number of women and children were reportedly injured in the police action.

Mr Rabbani said staging protest demonstrations was a democratic right of people and there was no justification for such action against citizens who had been forced to take to the streets to protest against long hours of load-shedding.

He urged the Leader of House Raja Zafarul Haq, who belongs to the PML-N, to take up the matter with his party and the Punjab government.

Mr Haq informed the house that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had taken notice of the incident and already suspended five police officials. Mr Haq said the Punjab government had also ordered an inquiry into the matter. He assured the house that those responsible would be punished accordingly.

PPP Senator Babar Awan spoke about the recent decision of Saudi Arabia to deport some 30,000 to 50,000 Pakistani expatriates. Expressing concern over the matter, Mr Awan asked the PML-N government to use its “good connections” with the Saudis to get the decision reversed as it would badly affect the country’s economy.

The Senate will meet again on Saturday evening to start debate on the budget. Under the constitution, the Senate has no role in the approval of the budget and is required only to submit its recommendations to the National Assembly within 10 days. These recommendations, however, are not binding on the government or the NA.

Source: DAWN

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