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US criticised in NA; foreign policy review sought

Published Aug 08, 2007 12:00am

ISLAMABAD, Aug 7: Several government and opposition members severely criticised the US policy in the National Assembly on Tuesday and called for a complete review and overhaul of Pakistan’s foreign policy, with the parliamentary secretary for defence going one step further, stressing the need for announcing ‘jihad’ against India and the US.

“Recognising Taliban and launching a jihad is the only way to take revenge,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Maj (retd) Tanveer Hussain Syed while taking part in the debate on the foreign policy “with particular reference to recent statements of some US presidential candidates, US civil nuclear treaty with India, threat of military intervention in Pakistan, the country’s role in war against terror and the improper conditions in the US legislation for aid to Pakistan.”

He alleged that the US and India wanted to take control of Kashmir to keep a check on China. The parliamentary secretary also called for sending “jihadis” to Kashmir because, according to him, Pakistan would never be able to get Kashmir through negotiations.

He claimed that through jihad, Pakistan could get Kashmir within six months.

Major Tanveer also alleged that the CIA, RAW and Khad were behind the killings of Chinese nationals in Pakistan. “There is a need for revenge and there is only one way to do it, Jihad, Jihad and Jihad,” he concluded.

In what appeared to be a response to the speech of the parliamentary secretary, Ali Akbar Wains of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League said that there was a need for ‘jihad’ against corruption, provincialism and hatred.

M.P. Bhandara, a minority community legislator also belonging to the PML, called for renewing contact with Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Taliban, in order to resolve the ongoing crises in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He claimed that Mullah Omar would get eight times more votes than Afghan President Hamid Karzai if polls were held in Afghanistan.

Mr Bhandara proposed that Pakistan should bring the US, Nato, western powers and Mullah Omar to the negotiating table to resolve the Afghan issue which was also affecting Pakistan. He said that in the talks, the US should be asked to ensure withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and Mullah Omar should be persuaded not to support Osama bin Laden.

He said the Taliban should be given time to realise their mistakes and review their gender policy. He was of the view that the US could not win the war in Afghanistan as the Afghans considered it a war for liberation from occupation forces.

Taking part in the debate, Liaquat Baloch of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal called for formulating a new foreign policy in a joint sitting of parliament. He said after the end of the cold war with Russia, the US think-tanks had suggested to Washington to launch a war against Islam. He said today Pakistani soldiers were killing people who were earlier known as Mujahideen.

He said that western powers always used the military dictatorships to serve their interests.

Minister of State for Environment Malik Amin Aslam expressed concern over the India-US nuclear deal. He said that Pakistan’s soldiers were dying and the US was asking us to “do more.” He condemned the statements of the US presidential candidates threatening attacks on Pakistan and Islam’s holy places. He said these candidates were actually committing terrorism and they should be disqualified from contesting the election.

Farooq Amjad Mir of the PML said Pakistan should reconsider its policy. He said the government had to compromise whenever some terrorist links were found in Pakistan.

Yasmeen Rehman of the PPP said that Pakistan should play a leading role in activating the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC). She also said that formulating of foreign policy was not the job of the Pakistan Army.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz also attended the proceedings of the house for a brief period. Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri is expected to wind up the debate on Wednesday evening.

Pervez Malik, Farhana Khalid Binori, Dr Azra Fazal, Farzeen Ahmed Sarfaraz, Maulana Abdul Malik, Manzoor Wassan and Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri also took part in the debate.