Pak NA shocked by Army's "highhandedness" against federal minister

Islamabad, Nov 9 (ANI): Reacting to an incident of "highhandedness" by the Pakistan army, who reportedly trained their guns at a minister in his flag-bearing car, opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told the National Assembly that the military would enjoy the nation's respect only if it complied with its constitutional duty of defending the borders.

Chaudhry Nisar said that two soldiers had insulted a federal minister in his flag-bearing car by training their guns at him at a checkpoint near Pakistan parliament on Monday when a "four-star general" too was in the area, the Dawn reported.

The government acknowledged that that this "serious" incident had happened, which Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Naveed Qamar said would be taken up with "appropriate authorities."

Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, chairing the proceedings at the time, called for a report about what he called an incident of "highhandedness" before the house concludes its current session after four days.

But none of the three men who spoke about the matter identified the minister involved in the incident or the general for whom the troops came to control traffic, although Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had met President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday afternoon, the paper said.

Chaudhry Nisar said he saw "a lot of military activity" on the avenue at the time, giving him the impression that "some four-star general" was coming to meet either the president or the premier, and that he was informed by some witnesses later on coming to his office in parliament about a minister's car flying the national flag having been stopped along with other cars by two soldiers "carrying bandooks (rifles)" and controlling traffic at the checkpoint instead of police.

"The soldiers did not have the courtesy to salute the national flag... which is the duty of every uniformed Pakistani," he said.

"The matter did not end there," he said, and added that when the driver of the minister tried to move his car forward, the two soldiers trained their guns" (towards the inmates).

"Is it the national army or an individual's army," the opposition leader questioned, stressing that the troops had no business to assume police job. "If they stop me tomorrow, I will not stop," he added.

The country would respect only if it complied with its constitutional duty of defending the borders, Chaudhry Nisar said, drawing cheers from his PML-N colleagues as well many PPP members.

Minister Naveed Qamar said it was a "serious matter" to stop the car of a minister with the national flag or of any elected member of the house. "The government takes it seriously. We will take up the matter with appropriate authorities," he added. (ANI)

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