KARACHI: The country’s economic policy in the last four years has made life difficult for the common Pakistani, said newly-elected Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Sherry Rehman in her first direct interaction with the media on Friday after assuming the office.

Speaking at Quaid-i-Azam International Airport, Ms Rehman claimed that Pakistan’s foreign policy had also suffered and brought about the country’s international isolation.

Senator Rehman received a warm welcome by dozens of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) workers on her arrival. She thanked all the senators who voted in her favour and vowed to take them along in the upper house of parliament.

“The opposition keeps checks,” she said, adding that she would ensure that the opposition in the Senate performed its job properly with all due honesty.

In order to ensure this, she said: “I will take every member of our benches in confidence regardless of their political association. As opposition members, we have huge responsibility to keep the government policies under check to make them in favour of the country.”

Says she will take every member of opposition benches into confidence regardless of their political association

Ms Rehman, a former ambassador to the United States, criticised Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and his ministry’s performance calling it “disastrous” for the country. She also questioned the use of social media by Mr Asif on key and sensitive issues.

“Foreign ministers world over never use Twitter for any policy or tall claims. But here, our minister does and that too in a disastrous manner. Even today he tweeted without thinking about it,” she said referring to the minister’s tweet where he commented on an opinion piece published in The New York Times on the Iraq war.

Tweeting a photograph of Nicholas Kristof’s article from his verified account (@KhawajaMAsif), the federal minister said: “Add Afghanistan, Libya, Syria to it. World’s mighty sole superpower continues to pursue a folly...or perhaps objectives [are] beyond our comprehension.”

While criticising the government and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz ministers, the Senate’s opposition leader, however, did not use the same tone for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), a party which did not vote for her.

Responding to a question about Imran Khan’s party and policy, she said: “Allah is great. He brought us victory and defeat to Imran Khan and his party. Let me make this very clear... we don’t believe in the language and politics of hatred. As the opposition, you need to keep your doors open for everyone and we will carry the same policy in the Senate.”

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2018

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