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Pak-Afghan border fencing to be completed soon: Rashid

Interior minister says 2,680km portion already fenced

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Friday informed the Senate that fencing along 2,680 kilometres of the Pak-Afghan border had already been completed, except for the 21-kilometre portion, which would be fenced soon.

Speaking in the Senate, the minister said that efforts were also being made to complete the fencing of the remaining 200 kilometres of Pak-Iran border.

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He was responding to questions posed by the opposition senators who had sought an explanation from Rashid over the recent terrorist incidents in the country, including the blast in Lahore on Thursday which claimed the lives of three people.

During Friday’s session, the opposition urged Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to suspend routine proceedings and debate the country’s law and order situation in the wake of the Lahore blast and the killing of a policeman in Islamabad during a shootout.

Addressing the Upper House, Senator Raza Rabbani lamented that terror incidents were on the rise in the country.

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He said the Balochistan Liberation Army had claimed responsibility for one of the attacks “while the interior minister said the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was behind it”. The senator demanded that the minister be summoned to clear the confusion in this regard. “Do the recent incidents not prove that the approach adopted in dealing with the TTP was wrong?” he questioned.

Senator Yousaf Raza Gilani said terror incidents were increasing and the interior minister should brief parliament in this regard, adding that media reports were not sufficient to ascertain the details.

Senator Sadia Abbasi said she had submitted a calling attention notice at the Senate Secretariat to discuss the law and order situation. “However, it was not incorporated in the agenda,” she said.

Irfan Siddiqui of the PML-N said the incidents of robberies were on the rise in the capital, while “the Interior Ministry was busy indulging in rhetoric”.

The senator said he had not seen the interior minister in the House for any briefing during the last nine months.

On the demand of the opposition, the Rashid made a brief appearance during the session. The minister condemned the Lahore blast and said that an investigation into the incident was underway. He said that no one would be allowed to spoil the country’s peaceful environment.

The minister said two terrorists were killed in the Islamabad shootout, adding that six mobile phones belonging to the attackers were also recovered. “I do not want to mention the details about their movement and accommodation,” Rashid said. He said that there were “special motives” behind the killing of the cop in Islamabad, adding that the government was investigating the incident.

Earlier this week, the interior minister had termed the attack in Islamabad an act of terrorism and warned that it was a signal that terrorism had come to the capital. The minister also said this was the first such incident of the New Year and said that all law enforcement agencies needed to raise their guard. “This is not a matter of petty theft or robbery; this purely is an act of terrorism,” he said.

Meanwhile, three ordinances, including the National Rahmatul-Lil-Aalameen Authority Ordinance, 2021, the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Ordinance 2021, and the Pakistan Nursing Council (Emergency Management) Ordinance, 2021, were laid in the Senate. The ordinances were laid in the House by Minister of Science and Technology Syed Shibli Faraz and the interior minister.



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