ISLAMABAD - Winding up debate in the National Assembly on Swat situation, Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan Friday said that the military operation against militants in Malakand division had been launched after taking all political parties and stakeholders on board. Saying that the offensive was vital for the integrity of Pakistan, Babar added that almost all parliamentarians present in the Parliament had expressed their apprehension over growing militants activities in Malakand during the previous NA session. The Minister also read out extracts taken from the speeches of Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan and JUI-F Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman without mentioning their names to justify the governments decision of launching military operation in Malakand division. The political parties and the federal cabinet were taken into confidence over Swat offensive, and it was also the unanimous voice of media and the civil society to eliminate elements of terrorism, he said. He asked political leaders to shun double standards saying, It is not right to have relations with Yazid and pay tributes to Hussain (AS) at the same time. He said that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani had taken the nation into confidence in televised address and had also met parliamentarians from Malakand division before launching offensive in Swat. The Minister said that it was not military offensive rather it was a war to defend Pakistan. Government was criticised over striking swat peace agreement and now we are being criticised over Swat operation, he added. Without mentioning names of lawmaker, the Minister said that in the previous session a member went on to say that the Army should fulfil its responsibility and instead of sitting in the barracks should go to the borders. We have to pinpoint those elements, which want to destabilise Pakistan, he said, adding that the doors of talks with militants were still open but they would have to lay down their arms and relinquish violence. Tell me to which cave, mountain and the tree we go to hold talks with militants, he asked. Terming military action as 'reaction to militants repulsive activities, the Minister rebutted the impression that action had been launched against militants on US pressure. Pakistan Army is taking action against militants under the Constitution and on the orders of federal and provincial governments, he said. He added that the government could not leave Swat alone as it was also part of Pakistan. He said that the government was providing information to the nation about operation on daily basis. Pakistan Army is answerable before the nation. Pakistan army is fighting in Swat to secure better tomorrow for Pakistan but unfortunately some foreign countries including neighbouring ones are carrying out media trial against Pakistan Army and the government, he stated. He added that the foreign media was conducting propaganda against Pakistan and there was no truth in the reports that some Sikh displaced families had been asked to give Jizia. He said that after reports in some Indian channels, he on the directives of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani met displaced Sikhs along with MNAs and party leaders and inquired about demand of Jizia by militants but 'they denied and said that they had been threatened only but hadnt paid a single penny as Jizia. On IDPs issue, Babar said that they were not forced to migrate due to military offensive but due to continuous violence and terror of militants. He also paid tributes to Pakistani media over constructive coverage of Swat operation. On the Nizam-e-Adl Regulation (NAR), Babar said it was implemented in all with sincerity and the government hadnt violated it. He said after the NAR implementation, the militants started to attack the FC personnel and forcefully occupied the government offices and buildings. He said in those circumstances, the government was left with only two options, either to carry out operation or surrender before the militants. The Minister said that once the Army completed its operation, the government would ensure a sustainable system of governance and added that the exit policy and welfare of the IDPs would be thoroughly debated in the All Parties Conference on Monday (May 18). He appealed to the people to help IDPs in whatever way they could as they had left their homes with little or no belongings. He said the IDPs immediately needed water containers, slippers, tea, sugar and salt and added that they needed soap and washing powder to prevent the outbreak of an epidemic. He said that Wapda had already provided electricity to 12 camps of the IDPs. Earlier, taking part in the debate on Swat operation, PPP lawmaker Yasmeen Rehman said the country was facing great threat from militants and the present situation was like a 'state of emergency. She said that parliamentarians visits to IDPs camps had helped mitigate problems of the affected people to some extent and their confidence into the governments relief efforts had increased. She said that the post-operation situation and the handling of IDPs would be an uphill task for the government, which needed a prudent policy by the government. Chief Whip of PML-Q Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that some foreign elements had been funding extremist groups to carry out subversive activities to create law and order situation in the country. I support the governments decision of military operation in Swat and stern action should be taken against people who are challenging writ of the state, he added. He said that all constitutional posts should be filled in consultation with the Parliament and departmental appointments must be made on merit. Khwaja Sheraz Mehmood supported the military action and said that the government should have taken this decision earlier. PML-Q MNA said if the operation failed to achieve desired results, it would have negative effects. State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mehreen Anwar Raja said that dialogue with militants had been considered as the weakness of the government but the government knew very well how to establish its writ. PML-N MNA Dr Darshan criticised the government for summoning the NA session after making a decision to launch operation and asked all the political parties to strengthen hands of the government. He said the concerned authorities should ensure transparent supply of relief good to the IDPs and called for constituting a parliamentary committee in that regard. Mian Javed Latif criticised the policies of the previous government, holding it responsible for the present law and order situation in the country. Dr Abdul Qadir Khanzada of MQM hailed the government for convening All Parties Conference and holding in camera briefing to parliamentary leadership by the Army Chief. He said that parliamentarians should also be briefed on the causes, impacts and post-operation strategy. ANP MNA Khurshid Begum said some miscreants had dragged Swat and Malakand into mayhem, thus forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. She called for long-term and permanent solution of militancy and terrorism. Otherwise, the fire could engulf the whole country, she added. She emphasised on transparency in relief operation for IDPs and urged the government to get religious leaders and elected representatives of the area united to reopen the course of dialogue for peace in the region. Begum Shakeela Khanam Rashid of PPP described the decision to launch operation as troublesome 'but it was the only solution of the issue. She urged the members not to indulge into debate whether the decision of military operation was right or wrong, rather need of the hour was that they should unite at a single platform to boost the morale of the Armed Forces. Nadeem Afzal Chan alleged that General Ziaul Haq was the founder of militancy in Pakistan and said that all the political forces were united to combat the menace of terrorism. Kamran Khan said that Swat was paradise for the natives of the area but now they were forced to leave it due to militancy. He said that the government was trying its level best to provide basic facilities to IDPs. Usman Khan Advocate said that a conspiracy was being hatched against Pakhtoons. He urged the government to call doctors from all provinces to provide medical facility to IDPs. Sajid Ahmed Khan paid rich tributes to Pakistan Army, which was fighting against the militants, adding a handful of militants were defaming the country in world community. MNA Khanzada Khan demanded of the government to announce family package for IDPs who had been provided shelter by locals in Swabi and Mardan districts. Zahid Hamid, PML-N legislature and former minister, said that Pakistan Army was fighting not only the outside forces but there were some unguided elements disrupting peace of the area. He said the operation should be swift, and targeted and effective strategy for post-operation scenario should be adopted so that the governments writ could be established permanently. Rubina Saadat Qaimkhani said that some MNAs were opposing the military operation in Swat despite knowing that miscreants were decapitating the people in name of Islam and setting educational institutes on fire in sheer violation of Islam and Constitution. MQM MNA Shagufta Sadiq said that there was a dire need to unite all the political forces to extend their support to the government and Pakistan Army. Saluting the Pakistan Army for its role to safeguard the country, she urged all the members to play their role in relief operation for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said the issue of IDPs was a great challenge for the whole nation, particularly the government, and suggested that the operation should be target-oriented and had a time frame. After the conclusion of debate on Swat issue, the Speaker NA Fehmida Mirza adjourned the session sine die. Monitoring Desk adds: Winding up debate on military action in Swat in the National Assembly, the parliamentarians demanded that religious seminaries (madaris) run by banned outfits should be shut down, the abrogators of Constitution should be brought to justice and democratic institutions should be strengthened in order to root out extremism, reports BBC. The parliamentarians also urged the government to settle down the issues through Parliament and to back the armed forces in the ongoing military operation in Swat and Malakand.