ISLAMABAD Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has been elected unopposed as Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in the National Assembly.
Talking to reporters after his election, the ANP chief declared that he would make sure that the country's foreign policy was framed by the parliament after discussions.
He urged all political parties to join hands and face together the dangers that were knocking at Pakistan's western borders and the situation in tribal areas.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani congratulated the ANP leader. In a message, Gilani hoped that Asfandyar would work for the betterment of the country's relations with the global community.
Asfandyar Wali replaces Dr Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who remained chairman foreign affairs committee in the previous assembly under Pervez Musharrafs rule.
Mr Khans election as chairman of the committee was part of a power sharing formula agreement between the ANP and PPP leadership at the time of formation of coalition government. Under the agreement, the party will get two more ministerial slots as it has already two in Haji Ghulam Ahmed Bilour and Khawaja Muhammad Khan Hoti.
The name of Mr Wali was proposed by Pakistan Muslim League-N lawmaker Sheikh Aftab Ahmed and it was seconded by PPP's Ghulam Mustafa Shah, who was earlier elected as chairman of the House Committee on Water and Power.
PPP chief Whip Syed Khurshid Shah supervised the election of the chairman foreign affairs committee.
The meeting was attended among others by Farahnaz Isphaani, Fauzia Wahab, Aftab Sheikh, Ayaz Amir and Palwasha Bahram.
With the election of the two chairmen of the house committees, the tally of chairmen of the committees now rises to three out of the total 46 committees.
When Syed Khurshid Shah was asked whether some house committees would elect anyone from the opposition parties, he said “the PPP has so far only one chairman”.
In his brief remarks after the election of the chairman, PML-N lawmaker Chaudhry Ayaz Amir advised Mr Khan to make sure that the president and prime minister do not make any statement on foreign affairs that plunge the nation into shame.
Referring to Prime Minister Gilani's statement that Pakistan cannot repulse American attacks and would try diplomatic channels to convince the US to not to attack its territory, he said the statment had been extremely disparaging for the nation to say the least.
He said the prime minister should not have talked about defence and foreign matters if he was not in a position of giving the people hope.
Earlier, the House committee on Water and Power elected PPP's Ghulam Mustafa Shah from Sindh as its chairman by a unanimous vote.
The name of Ghulam Mustafa Shah was proposed by Nawab Abdul Ghani Talpur of PPP and seconded by Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N.