PM Imran skips military’s briefing to lawmakers on security situation
The military top-notch has started the in-camera briefing to the lawmakers at the Parliament House on the prevalent situation in the region including Afghanistan, relations with the US, India and Kashmir. All the major opposition figures were in attendance but Prime Minister Imran Khan chose to stay away, reported 24 NewsHD TV channel.
Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, ISI Director General Lieutenant-General Faiz Hameed and other senior military officials took part in the briefing for the parliamentarians on Thursday. ISI chief Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed briefed the members of the parliament.
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had summoned the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security that was to be briefed by military high-ups on the overall situation of the region.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari reached the Parliament House to participate in the meeting.
However, Prime Minister Imran Khan was not attending the military-parliamentarians huddle.
Talking about his skipping the meeting, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that he was representing the premier. The foreign minister said he never uttered that the prime minister was participating in the meeting.
On the question of PM Imran not attending the meeting, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said it was agreed that the defence and national security committee members would participate in the meeting.
He said the leaders of the political parties were asked to choose their members on their own whom they wanted to bring to the parliament for the security briefing.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sinjrani was attending the in-camera briefing on special invitation. Foreign Minister Qureshi, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, Adviser on National Security Moeed Yousaf, all four chief ministers of the provinces and parliamentary leaders of National Assembly and Senate were participating in the meeting.
Bilawal reached the Parliament House along with Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Sherry Rehman and Hina Rabbani Khar.
In Parliamentary Committee on National Security’s meeting, 29 members and 16 specially invited parliamentarians were participating.
PPP Chairman Bilawal had requested NA Speaker Qaiser to summon a meeting of the parliamentarians for a special briefing on the Afghanistan situation.
Strict security measures were adopted during the in-camera session. The entry of irrelevant persons in the Parliament House was banned. Big screens in large number were fitted in the assembly hall for the briefing. All galleries of the assembly hall were closed. Mobile phones were also not allowed.
Different political parties including PML-N, PPP, JUI, BNP (M), ANP and other political entities held their separate sessions to hold consultations regarding their participation in the military’s in-camera briefing to lawmakers on the present situation.
During the session, DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed briefed on the current situation in Kashmir and Afghanistan, besides the internal and external security situation.
According to an official statement issued after the briefing, the session was informed that Pakistan played a highly positive and responsible role in the Afghan peace process.
The works on border fencing at the Pak-Afghan border is 90% complete, while an effective system of customs and border control is also being set up.
"Pakistan's efforts paved the way for dialogue between Afghan factions and warring groups," the meeting was told, while it was also noted that due to Pakistan’s efforts, talks have begun between the US and the Taliban.
The session was informed that "Sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to stability in South Asia. Pakistan would welcome a truly representative government of Afghans and that it would continue its responsible role for peace in Afghanistan.”
"Pakistan's territory is not being used in the conflict in Afghanistan and we hope that Afghanistan's land is not used against Pakistan," the session was further informed.
During the second session, the parliamentarians asked questions and put forward recommendations, said the statement. "The recommendations will be considered as an important part of the security policy."
The political leadership has expressed wishes for peace, development, and prosperity in Afghanistan, the statement said.
The participants, during the meeting, said such sessions play an important role in shaping consensus on important national issues and also strengthen harmony on various matters.
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader in the NA Shahbaz Sharif, talking to media during a break, said he was satisfied by the briefing given during the meeting, but refrained from sharing any details.