The opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly on Monday severely criticized the government for the escape of former spokesperson of proscribed terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Ehsanullah Ehsan from the custody of security agencies during a "sensitive operation".
The notorious former TTP spokesperson was involved in the brutal attack at a Peshawar school on December 16, 2014, which killed 150 children.
He is also responsible for the attempted murder of the youngest Noble Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.
Speaking on a point of order, Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) MNA Mohsin Dawar questioned the government stance on the escape of Ehsan, saying such a big blunder cannot be called incompetence.
"The government should confirm or deny this story of Ehsan's escape from the prison. We demand a thorough investigation into this incident. No one is listening to our warnings about regrouping of Taliban," he maintained.
Pakistan People's Party (PPP)'s Naveed Qamar echoed Dawar's thoughts and demanded to form a parliamentary committee to probe into the "escape of the former Taliban leader, involved in attack on Malala Yousafzai and massacre of Army Public School students in Peshawar." "How did he [Ehsan] escape from a heavily-guarded prison? What's the level of our alertness to deal with high-profile terrorists during their custody," he questioned.
Qamar said that the parliament must look into the matter minutely and no one should be allowed to bypass it, adding if this remained the situation, "we will not be able to present our case before the world in the war against terrorism."
"There could be two reasons behind his [Ehsan] fleeing from the jail, as it is either complicit [with jail authorities] or it's sheer incompetence...in both the cases, we need to dig into the matter," he said.
The government ministers who were present in the House did not respond to the points raised by the opposition lawmakers, despite repeated demands from them that they needed a prompt response from the government.
Responding to a calling attention notice by MNA Fazal Muhammad Khan and others regarding shortage and non-recruitment of staff in power companies, causing grave concern to the masses, Minister for Power Division Omar Ayub Khan said that 10,870 people were being hired to resolve the issue. "Yes, there is a problem as the previous governments didn't hire people due to some issues, due to which the power companies were short staffed. The hiring process has started and local people will be appointed on merit soon," he added.
Amid protests by opposition PPP, the House also passed resolutions, extending two ordinances - Pakistan Medical Commission Ordinance, 2019 and The Joint Maritime Information Organization Bill, 2019 - for 120 days.
PPP MNA Naveed Qamar said that if government wanted to run the House through ordinances, there was no need of the parliament, adding the government should not promulgate ordinances under pressure from certain mafias.
"Mr Speaker, you cannot issue or extend an ordinance when both National Assembly and Senate are in session. This House is meant for legislation and we must not make fun of it through promulgation of ordinances," he lamented.
Responding to the Qamar, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that both the ordinances had already been laid in the House and work on both the bills was ongoing.
"We've already spoken to opposition about both the ordinances and the reason we seek 120-day extension is these ordinances are about to be expire, so till the work on the work on bill is finalized, the ordinances should not lapse," he clarified. The House was adjourned to meet again on Tuesday (today) at 4pm after PPP's Abdul Qadir Patel pointed out the quorum.