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LoC tensions spark fierce arguments in Lower House

22 January, 2013

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Monday spit fire at each other in the National Assembly over the volatile situation on the border with India and the creation of new provinces in Punjab, with the later rejecting vociferously the new defence doctrine of the army declaring internal threat 'the main security concern' rather the external one from India.

On the first day of the 49th session of the Lower House, opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan whipped up the atmosphere by pointing at the hysteria stirred up by India after the exchange of fire between the two countries, which he said was triggered by the neighbouring country, and dubbed the response of the Pakistani government as "below the national honour and dignity".

However, the government responded with a strong defence of its policy saying that Pakistan showed its commitment by not escalating the situation and raised the issue at the appropriate forums against Indian attitude.

"We didn't go for escalating the situation, rather got the available mechanism operative to look into these issues by showing determination to the peace process," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira pointed out in their respective talks to respond to the issues raised by the opposition leader.

Reacting to the words of the opposition leader, Khar said that a responsible reply from the government should not be categorised in this way.

"We made the various mechanism available between the two countries' operation, like the DGMOs meeting and summoning of the Indian high commissioner, to convey our concerns," she said, and added that the responsible attitude of the country had been appreciated at various forums.

On the new defence doctrine, Khar said that the government was aware of the challenges emanating from the East. "But we should not be disillusioned about the challenges internally, which have deprived us of our leaders and innocent persons."

Nisar, raising the issue of killing of Pakistani soldiers on the border, lashed out at the Indian attitude and said the senseless attitude of the government to it was "a matter of grave concern".

He urged that the Pakistani parliament should respond strongly to the statements of the Indian prime minister, foreign minister and army chief. "We don't want war with India but peace should be with respect and honour," he stated.

Nisar also rejected the new defence doctrine, labelling internal threat as a major security concern instead of India, and said that the PML-N had serious reservations on the document, whose ownership had not been claimed by any quarter, but was leaked to the press. "It is not a minor policy issue. No one can change it himself. Pakistan has security threats; both internal and external," he said.

On the creation of new federating units in Punjab, PML-N's stalwart came hard on Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mahmood and said that his party would not accept the creation of new provinces at the whims of one person with a few supporters.

He expressed surprise over the statements of the Punjab governor over new provinces in Punjab when a parliamentary commission was yet to submit its report on the issue.

Responding to Nisar's concern, Qamar Zaman Kaira said that if the opposition was against new provinces in Punjab, it should come openly to talk diplomatically.

He questioned why the PML-N had not sent the names for the parliamentary commission when they were asked, and why the Punjab Assembly refused to nominate their members in the commission. Earlier, members of the house from FATA walked out against callous attitude of the government on the incident of Bajur Agency in which many precious lives were lost.


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