Khawaja Asif calls on lawmakers to put differences aside after India's LoC violation

Published February 26, 2019
Former defence minister Khawaja Asif calls for unity among political parties. ─ DawnNewsTV
Former defence minister Khawaja Asif calls for unity among political parties. ─ DawnNewsTV

Former defence minister Khawaja Asif, in a fiery address on the floor of the National Assembly on Tuesday, called for all parties to "put on a united front" in the face of India's Line of Control (LoC) violation.

"Our country, our sovereignty, our integrity are being threatened," Asif said, asking that a joint sitting of Parliament be convened today. "It is the need of the hour that we show solidarity with the Army."

The PML-N stalwart said it is "not the time for political point-scoring", and called for all political parties to "suspend their differences for some time.

Asif also said that the message should be sent that all lawmakers are "one in the matter of Kashmir".

"Despite our differences over the economy or the running of the government, this is one area that all of Pakistan is united on," he added.

The PML-N leader said he supported the PPP's call for a joint session, noting that the Senate is already in session and therefore a joint sitting could be convened late this afternoon.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf MNA Ali Muhammad Khan said that the foreign minister would soon pay a visit to the NA and Senate to brief Parliament on the situation and that the government had agreed to convene a joint session of Parliament as demanded by the opposition.

'Boycott OIC for invite to Swaraj'

Asif also slammed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for inviting Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj as a 'guest of honour' at an inaugural session of the OIC foreign ministers' conclave scheduled for next month in Abu Dhabi.

He suggested that Pakistan boycott the OIC meeting. "It is an insult that our enemy is being invited as a guest of honour by a country friendly to us at a time when Kashmiris are facing bloodshed. It has not happened in the last 45 years," he asserted.

Former NA speaker Ayaz Sadiq also called on the government to raise this issue with the OIC, saying that the group had "no power to invite India without seeking the consent of member states".

In a separate statement today, All Parties Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Geelani termed the OIC's invitation to "those whose hands are drenched in our blood" as "unfortunate", saying that the active members of the forum should have "resisted the move and conveyed a clear message to India that it is in no way acceptable to the guardians of the Muslim world," the Kashmir Media Service reported.

'Pakistan has ability to dictate India'

Senior PPP leader Khursheed Shah called for a joint session of Parliament to be convened immediately, either today or tomorrow, and to continue for at least three days.

Shah said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should have come to the NA to "give a message to the world that we are united".

"A meeting of all political leaders, including those not in Parliament, should also be called immediately," he said.

"Narendra Modi only wants to go war because of elections," he stated. "We are behind the armed forces of Pakistan."

"India is not a weak country and it can take more similar actions," he said. "If needed, the opposition parties will be at the borders with the armed forces. Pakistan has the ability to dictate India," he added.

At the outset of the sitting, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan told the house that a meeting of the National Security Committee is underway and Defence Minister Pervez Khattak will brief the house about decisions made in the meeting.

Senate condemns Indian provocations

The Senate in its sitting strongly condemned India's cowardly actions. Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani said that India, which is in the grips of war hysteria, will never be successful in its abominable designs.

"The international community should take notice of India's provocations and LoC violations," Sanjrani stated.

Leader of the House in the Senate Shibli Faraz said that India should not misconstrue Pakistan's desire for peace as its weakness.

Faraz said that Pakistan's armed forces have the ability to defend the country.

"Modi should not destroy regional peace in his greed to win his election," Faraz said, adding that Pakistan should not be pushed into taking any extreme steps.

"India is nervous," said Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq, adding that the entire nation condemns India's extremist and irresponsible conduct.

Senator Sherry Rehman called on the government to immediately convene a joint sitting of Parliament.

More details to follow.

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