ISLAMABAD: A joint sitting of the parliament will be held today (Wednesday) to hold a debate on several key national issues, including economic policy of the present government and “respect for national institutions”, besides taking up a resolution on Kashmir and a crucial bill seeking to increase the number of union councils in Islamabad.

The National Assembly Secretariat on Tuesday issued a six-point agenda for the joint sitting that surprisingly does not have any mention of terrorism issue despite demand for a discussion on the matter from various politicians, including those belonging to the ruling coalition.

During a debate on the Jan 30 suicide attack on a Peshawar mosque, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had assured the house that the military leadership would be asked to brief the parliament on the security situation in the wake of recent rise in terrorism incidents and the status of talks with the Taliban.

However, the issue is likely to be taken up by the members during a debate on the country’s “foreign policy” as mentioned in the agenda.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi, according to the agenda, will move a motion seeking a discussion on the “national issues in order to create awareness and building consensus”.

The issues the parliament is set to take up for discussion are economic policy, the Jammu and Kashmir issue, respect for national institutions, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), population explosion, climate change impact and foreign policy.

Besides, the parliament is also set to approve two bills, including the controversial Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government (Amend­ment) Bill 2022.

On Jan 1, President Arif Alvi had refused to sign the controversial bill through which the government had increased the number of union councils (UCs) in Islamabad.

Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar will also present the Protection of Parents Bill 2022 for passage.

The agenda also contains a traditional resolution in the name of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in connection with the Kashmir Solidarity Day.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2023

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