ISLAMABAD: The government plans to convene a joint session of Parliament this week to debate new terms of engagement with the US which were hampered in the wake of last year’s Salala check post attack by Nato forces.
According to an official working in the National Assembly Secretariat, the session might be called on February 14 or 15. However, a final decision regarding that depends on the developments surrounding the NRO case, on which hangs the fate of the embattled prime minister.
Also, the delay in the passage of the 20th amendment has added to the complexity of the situation, according the official. It is believed that the government aspires to seek the approval of the constitutional amendment first before it tables the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
Originally, Parliament was to debate the review of ties with the US last month but it was delayed till the first week of February.
The session could not be convened even back then due to the government’s preoccupation with meeting other challenges, the brewing legal battle with the judiciary being a primary concern.
The continued delay appears to have ‘frustrated’ the US, which wants Pakistan to complete its review of the engagement process at the earliest.
In diplomatic circles
Meanwhile, surprise is doing its usual rounds in the capital’s diplomatic circles.
At a recent reception, some Western diplomats expressed their utter confusion at the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision to indict the premier.
“It is certainly a very confusing development,” commented an American diplomat, who had not anticipated the current legal imbroglio. The envoy added that the US had initially expected a dip in political temperatures after the steam had come off the Memogate issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 13th, 2012.
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