Military to brief lawmakers on national security issues

Published November 4, 2021
A file view of a National Assembly session. — APP
A file view of a National Assembly session. — APP

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Wednesday convened an in-camera meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) on Nov 8 for a briefing by military officials on the current national security issues.

The meeting will be held at 11am at the main hall of the National Assembly for which invitations have been sent to more than 80 people, including MNAs, senators, members of the federal cabinet, four provincial chief ministers and Azad Jammu and Kashmir prime minister.

The members of the parliament are expected to raise the issue of recent controversial and secret agreement signed by the government with the banned Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) as the agenda issued by the National Assembly Secretariat says that the members can raise any item during the meeting with the permission of the chair.

As the opposition Pakis­tan Peoples Party (PPP) hinted at participating in the meeting, the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) said a decision in this regard would be made after consultation within the party.

This will be third meeting of the PCNS. Its last meeting was held in September to discuss regional security situation in the wake of the developments that were taking place in Afghanistan. The meeting that had taken place only days before Taliban takeover of Kabul had been attended by Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General of the Inter-Service Intelligence Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed.

The top military officials had also responded to questions of the lawmaker during the meeting which was also attended by Opposition Leader and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

The speaker has also invited Opposition Leader in the Senate Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman, former prime ministers Raja Pervez Ashraf and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PML-N parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly and the Senate Khawaja Asif and Azam Nazeer Tarar, respectively.

When contacted, PPP vice-president Sherry Rehman said as far she knew the party was considering to participate in the meeting. She, however, questioned the venue of the meeting, saying it should have been convened in a committee room, instead of the main hall of the National Assembly.

The previous meeting of the PCNS had also been held at the main assembly hall.

On the other hand, in a statement, PML-N information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said “any possibility of joining the National Security Committee meeting would be decided by the party leadership after thorough deliberations”.

Talking about the recent crisis created by the protests by the TLP, she said Prime Minister Imran Khan should muster up the courage to make his secret deal with the TLP public.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2021

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