Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani on Tuesday expressed displeasure at being told that data on armed forces casualties during ceasefire violations from General Headquarters (GHQ) had not been received by the Defence Ministry due to concerns regarding 'national security'.

Water and Power Minister Abid Sher Ali was briefing the Upper House on ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) in the absence of Defence Minister Khawaja Asif following a call-to-attention notice moved by Senator Mian Atiq.

Ali claimed that 66 civilians were killed and 228 others injured by cross-border firing, but did not clarify the period of time over which the casualties occurred.

He said that the Defence Ministry had written to GHQ requesting details of casualties in the armed forces, but had not received the information as it is considered a matter of national security.

Rabbani reacted with anger, saying that nothing could be kept hidden from Parliament. "If national security issues need to be kept secret, the information can be provided in-camera," he told Ali.

He added that the Defence Ministry, government and security agencies could not keep information from the House.

Afghan forces' firing at census team

The issue of firing by Afghan forces at a census team near the Pak-Afghan border also came under discussion after senators Azam Swati, Nauman Wazir, Sherry Rehman, Siraj-ul-Haq and Tahir Mashhadi submitted an adjournment motion regarding the issue.

Addressing the Senate, Swati recalled that a census team working in Pakistan’s residential areas near the border was attacked by Afghan forces which resulted in the loss of valuables lives of civilians and armed officials.

Weighing in on the issue, Wazir said that most elements within the Afghan government were against Pakistan.

He stated that Nato and the International Security Assistance Force had been unable to control terrorism in Afghanistan and added that it was high time the Afghan government be made aware that appropriate action shall be taken against those who cross the border illegally.

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