Pakistan isolated because it gives freedom to non-state actors, Aitzaz tells joint session

Published October 6, 2016
Aitzaz Ahsan addresses media outside the Parliament. —AP
Aitzaz Ahsan addresses media outside the Parliament. —AP

ISLAMABAD: PPP leader Aitzaz Ahsan addressing a joint session of parliament on Thursday said Pakistan is isolated because it gives freedom to non-state actors.

"The government has been completely unsuccessful in imposing restrictions on non-state actors according to the National Action Plan."

He implied that such actors continue carrying out protests, rallies and giving speeches in Islamabad, Lahore, Faisalabad and Karachi.

"I don't want instability in any country, as the blame of that will then fall on us because of these non-state actors," he said.

The PPP senator slammed the cabinet's denial of Pakistani involvement in the Uri attack. Saying we believe Pakistan has no hand in the Uri attack is not a categorical denial, Aitzaz said, adding that the phrase implied "We don't know if our non-state actors are behind it".

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"When you cannot completely implement NAP and then something like this happens, the blame will fall on Pakistan and we will be isolated. Then Bangladesh and Afghanistan will not speak to you, and Bhutan and Nepal will begin supporting India," he said.

"You have isolated Pakistan," he roared from the benches.

The PPP senator held Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif responsible for Pakistan's diplomatic isolation as the premier is also the foreign minister.

"Pakistan's isolation is Nawaz Sharif's personal failure," he said.

"Nawaz Sharif did not anticipate the Uri attack. Our defence minister said that perhaps India did it themselves to divert attention away from Kashmir."

"I agree, it is possible, but then why is it Pakistan which is isolated now? It is because you have given freedom to non-state actors."

"I have not heard Kulbhushan Jadhav's name from the prime minister's mouth even once," he said.

"If an active Pakistan Army colonel found in Agra without a visa or passport fell into [Indian prime minister] Modi's hands then that colonel would have been hung in a cage on the ramparts of the Red Fort as he delivered his Aug 15 speech," he added.

"He [Modi] would even have found a way to take that colonel to the United Nations General Assembly and would have told the world, 'Look what Pakistan is doing.'," he said. "You don't even take his [Jadhav's] name," Aitzaz said, addressing the premier. "You have to fight our case."

The capture of the Research and Analysis Wing spy should have been the most important point of the PM's speech at the UNGA, he said.

"It is a big event in the history of espionage, a history that goes back 5,000-6,000 years," he claimed. "An officer of this standing has never fallen into anyone's hands," he alleged. "Why are we hiding it?"

Aitzaz called on the government to fight the India Waters Treaty case and present Pakistan's stance on Kashmir. "We are with you," he said, reiterating the party's earlier stance of unity with the government on the Kashmir issue.

"You are our prime minister, you are our ministers. We are with you without any preconditions," the PPP leader claimed

He added that the government should, to eliminate discord between political parties, dispel the notion that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is Punjab-focused and the PM and his family must present themselves for accountability.

"The impression that CPEC is the China Punjab Economic Corridor is not acceptable to us. The $46 billion CPEC investment is not more important than national unity," he stressed.

Echoing PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's views on Panamagate, Aitzaz said that the party has presented a bill in Senate which would allow the PM to clear his and his family's name in the Panama Papers scandal.

'No compromise on Kashmir's freedom'

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah Khan issued a rejoinder to Aitzaz, saying that the premier "is a man of deeds, not words".

"A dossier was presented on Jadhav to the UN with all the evidence. Every embassy in every country was given a dossier. So was the OIC."

He said the PM had raised the issue of the Indian spy at "every forum".

"Nawaz Sharif revived the Kashmir issue and made it a flashpoint," he said.

Referring to India, he said, "They want to divert the attention of the world from the issue of Kashmir, so they stage dramas like the surgical strike," he claimed.

"There will be no compromise on Kashmir's freedom."

'Disorder in the house'

PML-N Senator Mushahidullah's speech was interrupted by cross-talk, sloganeering and a trade of barbs with opposition lawmakers after he brought up allegations of corruption despite being asked to limit himself to the Kashmir issue repeatedly by Speaker Ayaz Sadiq.

Accusing the opposition of alleged involvement in corruption, he said, "You say in 2018, the PPP will have a prime minister [in power]. We don't have any objections to this. You also say that Nawaz will be in jail. In 2018, if the PML-N wins and Nawaz remains PM, who will be in jail then?" he asked.

At one point, Mushahidullah can be seen smiling as opposition members yell and chant slogans, saying, "They are worked up, I am enjoying this."

Leader of the Opposition Khursheed Shah hit back at the senator's incendiary statements. "If the government thinks the opposition should tape their mouths shut, then we'll leave you to continue your speeches. A party has already boycotted the house, why are you making such enmities?"

As the opposition began to stage a walkout from the house, the speaker calmed lawmakers, asking them to "think about Pakistan".

"We are not conveying the message of unity on Kashmir that we are trying to give here. We have to think about Pakistan and also cool off and then speak... Don't let the Kashmir issue be derailed. We are responsible for what is going to take place in the coming days in Pakistan," he cautioned gravely.

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