Three parliamentary panels to get briefing in GHQ today

Published August 30, 2021
A view of the Army General Headquarters in Islamabad. — AFP/File
A view of the Army General Headquarters in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The country’s military leadership will be giving a briefing to three parliamentary committees on Monday (today) at the General Headquarters (GHQ) on internal and external security, including Kashmir.

The committees which will visit the GHQ are Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Senate Standing Committee on Defence and National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence.

It is the first security briefing being given by the military authorities to parliamentarians since the Taliban took over Afghanistan and the deadly terrorist attacks carried out by the so-called Islamic State in Khorasan Pro­vince (ISKP) in the neighbouring country.

Besides Afghanistan, the parliamentarians will also be briefed on the situation in Indian Illegally 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 also have a two-hour “interactive session” with Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Focus on situation in Afghanistan, India-held Kashmir

The briefing will be given by the director general military operations (DGMO).

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Raza Rabbani has demanded that instead of the GHQ, the briefing should be held in the Parliament House.

It may be mentioned here that a similar briefing was given to parliamentary leaders of political parties at the Parliament House on July 1 during which military and intelligence leaders had called for avoiding divisive politics on issues of national interest and cautioned that strategic challenges and related policy shift in external relations could have repercussions for the country.

The previous briefing was reportedly given by Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed to parliamentary leaders, including Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, on the spectrum of possible threats and regional environment — the situation that was emerging in Afghanistan at that time in the wake of foreign forces’ withdrawal and the stalemate in peace talks, developments in occupied 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 also been informed that in view of the situation it was critical to develop a consensus on issues of national interest, while politics should be restricted to governance and related political matters.

Since Aug 15, following the takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, the opposition parties have been demanding of the government to convene a joint sitting of the parliament and brief it on the regional situation and develop a national consensus on the challenges that the country may face.

Some of the prominent members of the three panels include Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, Faisal Javed, Mohsin Aziz, retired 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; and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman and Aftab Shaban Mirani of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2021

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