The kidnapping of a serving police officer from Islamabad and eventual discovery of his tortured body at a remote village of Afghanistan have certainly triggered a volley of fear-driven questions. The PTI government has no clear and satisfactory answers to them.

After wasting more than two weeks in underplaying the frightening sides of his mysterious missing, the State Minister of Interior, Shehar Yar Afridi, finally stood in the Senate to admit that yes after kidnapping he was taken to Afghanistan.

The murdered SP, Tahir Dawar, along with his family had a long list of enemies. They wanted to get him by all means. For the fear of their lives, almost each member of his immediate family had migrated to Islamabad. Even here, one of his brothers was killed along with his wife around a year ago.

The minister felt shy of telling the real or possible reasons that instilled the fear of life among the hearts of Dawar and his immediate family. Like a crime reporter, he rather went on to narrate the route his kidnappers had used to take the kidnapped officer to Afghanistan. He appeared not certain whether the officer was taken to that country, alive, or otherwise.

After insipid reading of a report, prepared for him by his staff, the minister switched to make us realise that Islamabad is NOT a ‘Safe City.’ Around 600, out of a total of 1,800, cameras installed here to watch traffic do not function. They are not able to read registration numbers of vehicles plying in the capital of Pakistan. Nor, they can clearly capture faces of people driving these vehicles.

After demolishing the myth of a safe city, drummed about the capital of Pakistan by his predecessors, Afridi felt no shame in returning to a favourite spin that ministers of PTI government continue spinning nonstop since assuming office in August this year.

Both the PPP and the PML-N governments that ruled Pakistan since 2008, the spin claims, recklessly looted and plundered the state resources. Our state does not seem functioning these days because the “looters of previous governments” did not focus on governance.

After shamelessly admitting the insecurity prevalent in the capital of an atomic power , the minister started to demand formation of a Senate committee that should identify people responsible for installing faulty cameras in Islamabad.

Demanding this, he conveniently forgot that Prime Minister Imran Khan is keeping the portfolio of interior with him. FIA etc are directly answerable to him. And the prime minister does not need any permission from the Senate to order a thorough probe to locate politicians and government officials responsible for installing a dysfunctional security network in Islamabad.

While demolishing the myth of Islamabad being a safe city, the state minister, had also questioned the actual worth of equipment that presumably was supplied by China. Now, this all weather friend of Pakistan has frightened many a tech giants of the USA by introducing new products related to artificial intelligence. China’s competitors in this field will certainly glad after finding out the claims made by Pakistan’s State Minister of Interior.

As a reporter, I am familiar with some significant details that surfaced during cases related to missing bloggers and enquiry of a famous ‘leak’. In the interest of safe driving, I prefer to ignore them. The little I personally know, however, clearly tells that outfits responsible for the security of Islamabad savor impressive capacity to keeping a vigilant eye on vehicles’ movement and mobile phone users in Islamabad.

Afridi looks desperate to project himself as a hands-on administrator. He is so fond of staging ‘surprise checks’, even of police stations that do not fall under his jurisdiction. I beg of him to seek a fresh briefing related to digital coverage of Islamabad.

If a fresh briefing does not satisfy him, he must try hard to identity the company and officers responsible for creating a false sense of security for the residents of Islamabad. Only he can ensure ‘exemplary punishment’ for wrongdoers. A Senate committee can’t do this for him. He must discover and trust his own authority as a state minister while working under direct supervision of the prime minister of Pakistan.

To be honest, though, Afridi could easily get away with telling of diversionary stories due to a spiritless opposition. It certainly enjoys numerical edge in the Senate. Many of our political heavyweights sit on its benches as well. Yet the opposition was just not able to put Afridi on the mat by putting right questions and firmly pushing for satisfactory answers.

The opposition senators have yet to recover from the wounds that the information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, had inflicted upon their collective reputation by his naming and shaming speech of Wednesday.

The opposition remained hooked to the idea of persuading the Senate Chairman to censor and discipline Fawad Chaudhry. Chairman Sanjrani appeared to have assuaged them to some extent by ruling that until willing to tender unconditional apology for remarks uttered by him the day before, the information minister would not be allowed in the Senate “for the rest of its session.”

Friday, by the way, is the last day of the ongoing session. Fawad Chaudhry does not need to tender apology to get into the Senate only for another day. Sitting away, he will rather prefer to savor the last laugh.

 

The unsafe capital of atomic power