ISLAMABAD: Over 50 parliamentarians belonging to the treasury and the opposition parties will visit the Pakistan Army’s General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi on Monday for a “security briefing” with respect to the situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, Dawn has learnt.
Besides Afghanistan, the parliamentarians will also get a briefing from the military high-ups on the situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources told Dawn that the parliamentarians were expected to spend five to six hours in the GHQ during which they would have a two-hour “interactive session” with Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.
The briefing will be conducted by the director general military operations (DGMO).
This will be for the first time that the parliamentarians will be receiving a briefing from the military leadership after the August 15 Taliban takeover of Kabul.
The chosen legislators will also have ‘interactive session’ with army chief
A similar briefing for the parliamentary leaders of the parties had been held in the Parliament House on July 1 in which the military and intelligence leaders had called for avoiding divisive politics on issues of national interest and had cautioned that strategic challenges and related policy shift in external relations could have repercussions for the country.
The previous briefing had reportedly been given by Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to the parliamentary leaders, including Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, on the spectrum of possible threats and the regional environment — the situation that was emerging in Afghanistan at that time after withdrawal of foreign forces from there and the stalemate in peace talks, the developments in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and US efforts to contain China. The army chief had also responded to questions of the parliamentarians after the briefing.
The political leadership had been told that in view of the situation it was critical to maintain consensus on issues of national interest, while politics should be restricted to governance and related political matters.
Since August 15 when the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the opposition parties have been asking the government to convene a joint sitting of the parliament for a briefing on the regional situation and to develop a national consensus on the challenges that the country may face after recent developments in Afghanistan.
One of the parliamentarians, whose name is included in the list of those visiting the GHQ, said the members of three parliamentary committees had been invited by the Ministry of Defence for the briefing that had been arranged on the demand of the political parties for a parliamentary briefing.
The lawmaker said the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir and the National Assembly and Senate standing committees on defence had been invited for the security briefing.
The Kashmir committee is headed by Shehryar Afridi of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) whereas Mushahid Hussain of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Amjid Ali Khan of the PTI are chairmen of the Senate and National Assembly committees on defence, respectively.
The other prominent members of the three committees are: Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, Faisal Javed, Mohsin Aziz, retd Maj Tahir Sadiq and Ramesh Kumar Vankwani of the PTI; Azam Nazeer Tarar, Khurram Dastagir Khan, Sheikh Rohale Asghar, Barjees Tahir and Riaz Hussain Pirzada of the PML-N; former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman and Aftab Shaaban Mirani of the Pakistan Peoples Party; Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Faisal Sabzwari of Muttahida Qaumi Movement; Mushtaq Ahmed of Jamaat-i-Islami; Talha Mehmood of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Sarfaraz Bugti of Balochistan Awami Party.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2021