ISLAMABAD: The government is mobilising the national political leadership to take a united stand in the face of US pressure and serious allegations levelled against the armed forces and the ISI.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani called the leaders of almost all political parties on Sunday to discuss the security situation faced by the country.
A handout issued by the PM’s Secretariat said: “The political leadership of the country has welcomed the initiative of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to hold political parties’ meeting soon to apprise them of the security situation in the wake of threats emanating from outside the country.”
It said Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar had been asked to return to Pakistan soon to attend a briefing to be given by the authorities concerned.
Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua told Dawn that Ms Khar would return to the country after delivering her speech at the UN General Assembly session on Tuesday.
The prime minister had twice spoken to Ms Khar and directed her to forcefully project Pakistan’s point of view in the General Assembly, said another handout issued by the PM’s secretariat.
This is the second time after the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a US raid in Abbottabad on May 2 this year that the prime minister reached out to heads of political parties to discuss the security situation.
In a speech in the upper house of parliament in the second week of May, Mr Gilani had said: “If we have the country, everyone can have his say, and if we do not have a country, no-one would have any respect. I request you to stand united and give us a strategy on our national policy on security.”
The prime minister said similar things on Sunday. According to the handout, he said: “Political differences in the domestic politics do not come in the way of national and foreign policy issues, which are above party politics.”
It quoted Mr Gilani as saying that the proposed meeting would send a strong message that the “nation stands united when the defence and security of the country is at stake”.
After informing President Asif Ali Zardari about his plan to hold an all-party meeting, the prime minister contacted PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, MQM’s Altaf Hussain, ANP’s Asfandyar Wali Khan, JUI-F’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, PML-F’s Pir Sahib Pagara, Jamaat-i- Islami Amir Syed Munawar Hassan, PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Aftab Khan Sherpao of PPP-S, leader of the Parliamentary Party of Fata Muneer Khan Orakzai, AML President Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, Senator Salim Saifullah Khan of PML (Like-minded), Sarwat Ijaz Qadri of Sunni Tehrik and Maulana Anas Noorani of JUI-P.
The handout said the prime minister was also in the process of holding consultations with the political leadership of Balochistan.
It said leaders of all parties had expressed their willingness to attend the meeting and endorsed the prime minister’s move of taking the political leadership into confidence on the issues which were of paramount importance to the nation.
PML-N spokesperson Senator Mushahidullah Khan said the leadership of his party had long been asking the government to hold a roundtable meeting to evolve consensus at least on important national issues. He said it was a good opportunity for the PPP government to take all political forces on board and thoroughly review the national security policy.
Senator Zahid Khan of the ANP said his party would support all efforts to be made by the government to deal with the extraordinary situation.