Govt presents 'blueprint' of foreign policy in Lower House
31 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday presented the blueprint of its foreign policy in the National Assembly on key issues including escalation on LoC, Syria, Afghanistan and others to soothe the opposition which walked out from the session a day earlier over government's non-seriousness to take the house into confidence.
Giving the policy statement on foreign policy, Advisor to Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan wants peaceful resolution to all of its problems.
While speaking about a possible attack on Syria by the US, he said that UN inspectors were currently in working Syria, and the world powers should wait for their report. "Syria's territorial integrity, and sovereignty should be respected by all," he said. Condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria‚ he said Pakistan rejects regime change through external sources, and change should be decided through democratic means.
Regretting the recent tension in relations with India, Aziz said Pakistan has taken several steps to defuse the tension; however‚ India has not reciprocated to Pakistan's overtures. "Pakistan had proposed a joint investigation of violations on LoC through the UN Military Observer Group, but India refused the proposal."
He added that eleven people including eight army personnel have so far been killed, while 31 injured because of Indian violations on LoC since January. Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan has called upon New Delhi to observe 2003 Ceasefire Agreement for reduction of tension.
On the Kashmir issue‚ he was of the view that India has always insisted for solution of this issue through bilateral talks, but so far, the efforts have failed to produce any result. He urged the international community to fulfil its responsibility for its peaceful resolution.
Speaking on the Afghan issue‚ Aziz said stability in Afghanistan is vital for peace in Pakistan, and that the recent visit of Afghan President Hamid Karzai to Islamabad remained successful in bringing relations back to normal.
He reiterated that Pakistan does not believe in interference in the internal matters of any country, including Afghanistan. He said there is no favourite group of Pakistan in Afghanistan, and Pakistan supports Qatar peace process, and hopes the dialogue process will continue.
About relations with the United States‚ he was of the opinion that both the countries have agreed to resume the strategic dialogue early next year to carry on the long-term relations.
Responding to a call attention notice‚ Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan will formally lodge its protest on drone attacks in the UN General Assembly meeting next month, as they are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and international laws.
Earlier, in response to the concerns raised by MQM legislator Khawaja Sohail Mansoor about Mohajir Republican Army, Minister for Interior Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan told NA that the report submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) was administrative and based on intelligence. "It is not the kind of the report which should be submitted in the SC," he said, adding that he had written to Supreme Court (SC) to withdraw it. About the firing incident on AML chief Sheikh Rashid's vehicle, interior minister said that investigation was underway, but he was not satisfied with the initial report submitted by the police.
AML Chief Sheikh Rashid wasn't much willing to speak on the very matter, and said that it was not the first incident, and he had been receiving threats since long. In the question-hour session, government told the house that it has no plan to privatise Pakistan Railways.
Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique while responding to a question of Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, informed the lower house that no proposal was under consideration to privatize the institution.
Besides, seven newly elected members of the National Assembly took oath as MNAs. Among the newly elected members include Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Shazia Marri, Shamasunnisa, Sardar Shafqat Hayat Khan, Mian Abdul Manan, and Obaidullah Shadikhel and Abdul Qahar Khan. Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq administered oath to the newly elected members.
Moreover, the National Assembly was told that 26 government officials hold dual nationality. Replying to a query by Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, the minister in charge of Cabinet Secretariat said that a total of 27 officers are dual nationals, including officers of Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Accountability Bureau (NAB) among others.
They all hold nationalities of different countries including United Kingdom, United States, Germany, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Norway.