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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Angry MPs call for resignations over Balochistan killings

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was outraged across party lines on Tuesday by the killing of at least 13 people in a sectarian attack near Quetta, with some government allies demanding that the interior minister and the Balochistan chief minister resign and the federal government impose governor’s rule in the troubled province.

But the main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), reserved its more bitter attack of the day against the PPP-led coalition government over power cuts, with one party member threatening a protest outside the Presidency before staging a second walkout in as many days of its protest agitation.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which had stayed away from Monday’s walkout like other smaller opposition parties, joined this time, though one PML-N member from Punjab, Rashid Akbar Khan Nawani, stayed behind in the house while his other colleagues marched out, ignoring a challenge from PPP’s Jamshed Dasti to “show moral courage” to listen to his response and a jibe: “They (PML-N leadership) ran away the same way after signing a deal with General Musharraf (for exile in Saudi Arabia).”

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was present in the house for some time, did not respond to the demands for resignations and governor’s rule from lawmakers of two allied parties, including a federal minister, and a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) dissident from Quetta, in speeches during an unscheduled debate, most of whose participants described the attack as target-killing of members of the Hazara Shia community as had happened in a Sept 20 attack that killed 26 Hazara pilgrims in Balochistan’s Mastung district while they were on their way to Iran.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not present in the house at the time when some members lambasted him and Balochistan Chief Minister Aslam Raisani for their perceived failures to maintain law and order in the province. Read more

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