Khursheed Shah seeks briefing on ‘Syria policy shift’

February 24, 2014

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Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed. – File Photo
Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed. – File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah on Monday objected to reportedly likely sale of arms to Syria and demanded a briefing by the government on foreign policy.

Speaking on a point of order in the lower house of Parliament, he claimed that it was a shift in the foreign policy, which would have serious repercussions like the country faced after indulging in Afghan war in 1980s.

He said when the country itself was facing extremism, supporting another troubled nation like Syria would be counterproductive.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader said that policies should be changed taking ground realities in account. Indulging in the affairs of other countries would have a backlash for Pakistan itself, he added.

“We should learn from the consequences of our previous policy of interference and make efforts for peace without inviting any problem,” said Shah.

Referring to the prevailing situation in the country in the wake of terrorist activities, the opposition leader said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should take the house and the nation into confidence.

“We and the nation want to know the status of dialogue with the militants,” he said and assured whatever the decision the government would take, the opposition and the nation would stand by it as well as the armed forces.

Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid said that the government will soon take members of the National Assembly it into confidence on the issues of militancy and foreign policy.

He described the claim of alleged “U Turn” in foreign policy by the opposition as “speculative” and clarified that nobody should think that the government lacked political ownership of the decisions.

“Today is the first day of session. Tomorrow the cabinet will meet to discuss important issues. Afterwards, the house will be taken into confidence,” he said.

The minister said that an amendment was made to the rules of procedure and conduct of business to bring the development budget of ministries to the standing committees of the house.

“This amendment was moved by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and it is for the first time that the rules are being implemented properly,” he said, adding that 11 standing committees had either submitted their proposals or were in the process of doing so.

“Remaining standing committees shall also hopefully accomplish their task within the stipulated time,” Hamid said in connection with the discussion on the development budget of relevant ministries.

He said the proposals had been sent to respective standing committees by 22 ministries, most of which were being deliberated for preparation of recommendations for inclusion in the annual budget by the finance ministry.