PSC and President on collision course

By Skandha Gunasekara

The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the Easter Sunday attacks has refused to submit to pressure from President Maithripala Sirisena and insists it will summon anyone it feels needs to be questioned as part of its inquiries.

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Parliamentarian and member of the PSC Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that whoever is summoned must appear before the Committee.
“The Parliament has the right to summon whoever it wishes to be questioned. The Executive cannot intervene. This is a right of the Parliament as well as the judiciary,” Dr. Jayatissa said.

On Friday (7), following an urgent Cabinet meeting called by President Maithripala Sirisena, the President had stated that he would not allow security officials to appear before the PSC.

However, another senior Parliamentarian who is a member of the PSC told The Sunday Morning that the President could not overrule the powers of Parliament to summon any public official.

The Parliamentarian did not wish to be quoted as it was a sensitive issue.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jayatissa said that at the next sitting, the PSC would be summoning Muslim leaders including former Western Province Governor Azath Salley.

“We will be summoning Muslim leaders and maulavis during our next session, including Azath Salley and two maulavis – one from Rathnapura and another from Kaththankudi. The Kaththankudi Maulavi had allegedly clashed with Zahran Hashim a few years ago while the Ratnapura Maulavi had attempted to warn authorities of Hashim’s fanaticism,” Dr. Jayatissa said.

Thereafter, the PSC would be summoning politicians as well.

“The sittings after that will see the Select Committee summoning those politicians who had been forewarned of the attack through various means,” the JVP Parliamentarian said.

The next dates for the PSC hearings have been set for Wednesday (11) and Thursday (12).