Dawn News

PCNS work on US ties remains stalled

ISLAMABAD, April 9: The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) failed on Monday to make any progress in its effort to redraft the terms of engagement with the US and Nato/Isaf as the JUI-F continued its boycott of the committee’s meetings and representatives of the PML-N and PML-Q were away in Lahore in connection with the energy conference.

The eighth meeting of the 13-member PCNS was presided over by its chairman Senator Raza Rabbani and attended by Qamar Zaman Kaira, Aftab Ahmed Sherpao, Nadeem Afzal Chan and Afrasiab Khattak.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Senator Rabbani said members from the Pakistan Muslim League-N and PML-Q were unable to attend the meeting because of their participation in the national energy conference in Lahore.

He appealed to all members, including those from the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, to ensure their attendance in Tuesday’s meeting to help create a consensus on the redrafting of the committee’s recommendations.

If anyone had a difference of opinion, he could write a dissenting note, but keeping away would not help, he pointed out.

However, JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman refused to attend the session on the chairman’s request, saying his party’s parliamentary group had endorsed the boycott.

PPP’s chief whip Syed Khursheed Shah said the joint session of both houses of parliament would continue till the PCNS finalised and presented its recommendations for approval.

Talking to reporters, he said a National Assembly session would also be summoned on April 22.

The JUI-F parliamentary group, in its meeting held at Maulana Fazl’s residence, rejected President Asif Ali Zardari’s appeal to the party’s chief to attend the PCNS’ proceedings.The president had telephoned the JUI-F chief on Saturday.

The JUI-F parliamentary group endorsed Maulana Fazl’s decision to boycott the proceedings over an apprehension that the government had already decided to resume the Nato supplies and it wanted parliament and its committee to rubberstamp the decision.

The party decided to put across its point of view on the terms of engagement with the US during the debate in parliament and oppose the resumption of Nato supplies.

It also rejected a bill against domestic violence tabled in the joint session, terming it an attempt to destroy Islamic values and family system at the behest of ‘western-funded NGOs and liberal women’.

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