Opposition seeks govt stance on foreign policy
29 August, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The opposition on Wednesday sought the policy of government over key foreign policy issues, including its stance on Syria, violation along Line of Control (LoC), dialogue with Taliban and National Security Committee, and later walked out from the National Assembly against what it termed the "non-serious" attitude of treasury on these issues.
The opposition parties fell apart over the security situation in Karachi but joined hands again when Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Awami Muslim League took the common stance on foreign policy issue. Defence Productions Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain could not satisfy the opposition parties when he assured that Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security Sartaj Aziz would give a comprehensive reply on all the issues pointed out by the opposition.
Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah initiated the debate on foreign policy issues when he pointed out that on some key policy issues, the opposition was kept in the dark.
He asked about the status on talks with the Taliban and the Doha Office of Afghan Taliban; besides the escalation of violation on LoC and National Security Committee, constituted to replace Defence Committee of the Cabinet. He demanded that the House be taken into confidence over these issues and government should give its imprint on all these issues. PTI's Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mahmood Querashi, while supporting the demands of opposition leader, added the conditions in Syria as another key foreign policy issue, where government should spell out its stance clearly.
"Following the threat of US attack on Syria on the pretext of chemical weapons and while it looks imminent, the government should explicitly state on which side of the fence it would be", Shah said and added that if the issue was taken to the UN's Security Council what would be the policy of the government. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed demanded that Sartaj Aziz come in the session and brief the House about the government's policy on Syria.
MQM's Asif Hasnain and JI's Sahabzada Tariqullah also sought the government's policy on Syria. Responding to the demands of the opposition parties, Federal Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain said that government would like to see a positive outcome of Doha development. About escalation at LoC, Rana told the House that government was employing the military and diplomatic channels to normalise the situation and declared that it was fully aware of the defence needs of the country.
However, he said that the adviser to PM on national security would take the House into confidence over these issues through a comprehensive policy. Later, the opposition parties walked out from the session when opposition leader Khursheed Shah objected to giving the floor to PML-N's MNA Ijaz Shirazi from Thatta, who complained about FIRs against him, saying that serious issues are being discussed and government appeared non-serious on these issues.