ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government and opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Monday teamed up in the National Assembly to criticise what they believed was the “discrediting” and “character-assassination” of ISI and its chief by a media group after one of its anchorpersons was attacked in Karachi.
The House on its first day of the last session of the current parliamentary year saw a brief disturbance when Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed wanted to speak against Geo TV for its flashing of ISI chief photo while covering the attack on Hamid Mir when the speaker did not allow him to speak on this issue.
However, later on, when the House began a debate on law and order in the country under a government-moved resolution, the PTI and the PML-N were on the same page to criticise the twisting of attack on Hamid Mir to drag the intelligence agency in it.
PTI Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi described the flashing of the ISI chief’s photo on a TV channel for eight hours “inappropriate” and that too “without any investigation into the matter”.
“The targeting of an institution in this way was not a decent one at all,” he said, and noted that the general public also disliked it.
It also, Shah added, provided the elements across the border to bash the national institution, and pushed the country into the dock at the international level.
Condemning the targeting of Hamid Mir in severe terms, Shah said that the PTI was all for freedom of press, but there should be responsibility attached to it.
Speaking on the general law and order situation, Shah criticised the Sindh and Punjab governments for the increase in crime rate and particularly mentioned the growing rape cases with minor girls in Punjab, which he said were unprecedented in the history of the country.
Federal minister Abdul Qadir Baloch, speaking on behalf of the government, said a question mark had been put on the coverage of the attack on Hamid Mir and the subsequent developments.
“What are we doing? We are simply providing the enemies to malign our institution,” he said, talking about the move of the media group to carry out the character assassination of the ISI chief. He noted that the coverage of Hamid Mir’s attack and accusations against the ISI triggered rallies by groups and parties.
Referring to a call of the PTI to launch a campaign on May 11 against rigging in the general election, Baloch appealed to the party that it should realise the sensitive nature of the situation the country was passing through. However, he said it was their democratic right.
Earlier, MQM’s Rasheed Godil lambasted the government over its silence on the continuous killing of party workers in Karachi.
Godil questioned whether MQM workers were not Pakistanis.
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