Abbottabad Commission

Addressing journalists in Islamabad, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has said that a commission to probe the US operation in Abbottabad would be constituted after consultations with all political parties. Interior Minister Rehman Malik, however, went ahead and gave a timeframe of two days for the formation of the commission. On the vociferous demand of the opposition and subsequent resolution in the National Assembly to this effect, the government announced that it would form an independent commission under parliament to probe the incident, in addition to the in-house inquiry by the military. Rehman Malik has said that the commission would determine whether there was any lapse in security. The PML-N has been piqued at the delay in the formation of this commission and a war of words has ensued between PML-N and PPP leaders over this issue. While addressing his party’s rally at the 13th anniversary of Pakistan’s nuclear tests, Nawaz Sharif castigated the government and threatened to join any popular movement launched to dislodge it. In response, PPP’s Babar Awan asked the PML-N leaders to show maturity, to which the opposition party has reacted sharply. This war of words is in fact part of a bigger battle. This instance is being used by the PML-N to press home the advantage by pushing further a government already on the back foot. Mian Nawaz Sharif has been indulging in deadline politics for quite some time now. When the government has assured that a commission is being formed, pressing it beyond rational limits does not make sense. It would be wise to wait for the government to complete the process of consultations before nominating persons for the formation of this commission. It is critical to press for an independent and acceptable composition of the commission, so that it has unquestioned credibility.

PPP and PML-N should, therefore, end this war of words for political point scoring and focus on creating an atmosphere in which this commission could work without any let or hindrance. This is a national matter concerning national security and sovereignty. Therefore, all political parties must rise above partisan politics. It would be in order that, unlike past commissions, the report of this commission is made public. The people have the right to know how an incident like this happened where the country’s sovereignty was violated and there was no response from the security agencies. This was precisely the reason why the formation of a civilian commission had been demanded in the first place so that the military’s inefficiency, if any, could not be covered up. Such matters cannot be left in the hands of the generals alone.The issue of investigation into another high profile attack at PNS Mehran airbase in Karachi is also pending. There are reports that the Sindh government has formed a joint investigation team to probe this incident. It is unclear whether the incident will be investigated separately by the Sindh and federal governments or the Sindh government has been given the mandate for this purpose. Whatever mechanism is agreed upon by the governments, it should be a collective effort, not independent of each other, so that the investigators do not work at cross-purposes. – Dailytimes