PCNS huddle marred by govt key officials’ lack of interest
Interior, foreign, defence, information, development and railways ministers skip security briefing
The ministers and important government personalities have shown a lean interest in the briefing given to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Monday, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The PCNS meeting was held in Islamabad under the chair of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and briefed by National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf.
The opposition has already boycotted the briefing on the grounds that they did not want to be briefed by NSA Moeed Yusuf and because Prime Minister Imran Khan always skipped the huddle.
The key government people who were conspicuous by their absence included Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Railways Minister Azam Swati, Tariq Bashir Cheema, Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak, Minister for Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar and PM Advisor on Finance Shaukat Tarin. They were accorded a special invite but they didn’t turn up.
All four chief ministers of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan; and Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister and Azad Kashmir Prime Minister did not attend the PCNS meeting.
Though Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid and State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan attended the conclave but soon they left the meeting citing their participation in two important meetings that were being held at the PM House.
However, Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, Senator Shahzad Waseem, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Saira Bano, Kamil Ali Agha, Senator Anwarul Haq Kakar, Faisal Sabzwari and Alia Hamza attended the briefing.
During the session, Shahzad Waseem, Ali Agha, Sabzwari and Alia Hamza asked questions from Mr Yusuf. The NSA ducked sensitive questions asked by the participants. They asked him since the policies were already there but what was the government plan to implement them. The NSA replied ‘they have chalked out policies and now it’s the responsibility of the concerned ministries to implement them’.
Mr Yusuf informed the huddle that there were nine ministries working under the national security policy explaining that along with defence security, the energy, food, economic and water securities were equally important.
The Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) last week suggested boycotting the in-camera National Security Committee huddle which was agreed by other parties in a steering committee meeting of the opposition parties on last Thursday.
The opposition decided to boycott the security briefing in protest against the government’s authoritarian way in which it bulldozed several important legislations without having a debate on them through a joint session of parliament and against its despotic attitude which it showed towards different constitutional, legal, national and security related issues.
GDA leader satire on briefing
When Grand Democratic Alliance leader Saira Bano was approached to divulge details of the national security briefing, she sterically replied: “We were asked to put a lid on water vessel and turn off heater before going to bed.”
Shireen Mazari, Senator Kakar trade barbs
During the national security session, Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari and Senator Anwarul Haq traded barbs.
Sources revealed the inside story of the PCNS conclave. They informed that Shireen Mazari and Senator Kakar exchanged harsh words when the human rights minister grilled Mr Kakar regarding the forced disappearances. The senator retorted that the minister should ask such questions during cabinet sessions.
Mr Kakar further asked Ms Mazari if she wanted to become a champion on human rights then why she was not tendering her resignation. He said who would raise his voice against those who became victims of the Balochistan Liberation Army terrorists. Who will talk about those people who went missing during the MQM regime, he added.
When Senator Kakar stood up on his seat, the speaker hushed him.
Reporter Awais Kiyani