ISLAMABAD: Senator Raza Rabbani will preside over the meeting of Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) being held on Monday (today).
A member of the PCNS, while talking to The Express Tribune, discarded remarks made by Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar regarding violation of international laws if Pakistan does not reopen Nato supply routes and termed them ‘nonsense’.
“The defence minister always speaks nonsense. With such comments he sounds more like a minister deployed by the US. Why doesn’t he tell the US to stop drone attacks which is also a grave violation of international laws,” the member said.
Sources revealed that high level officials of the foreign office will brief the committee regarding the outcome of initial talks with the US in light of the parliament’s recommendations. During the meeting, the issue of drone strikes and upcoming visits of key US civil and military officials will also be discussed. Foreign office officials will also brief the committee regarding the implementation of parliament’s proposals with regards to Pak-US ties.
On Tuesday, the PCNS will meet again to address the ongoing violence in Balochistan and the case of ‘missing’ persons who are allegedly in custody of intelligence and security agencies. Top officials of agencies and concerned departments will brief the committee over status of ‘missing’ persons and steps taken by security forces and provincial authorities to stabilise Balochistan, sources said, adding that officials of the provincial police, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) are also expected to attend the meeting.
Another member of the PCNS and of the Opposition expressed displeasure over US Secretary Defence Leon Panetta’s statement reflecting United States’ determination to continue drone strikes in Pakistan’s territory, aimed at destroying high-profile targets.
“The committee should realise that the country we consider a friend, is not ready to give us freedom to deal with matters on our soil,” he said with regards to the defence minister’s statement in which the US refused Pakistan’s proposal to conduct drone strikes jointly.
PCNS Chairperson Raza Rabbani, while talking to The Express Tribune, said that the committee will receive a detailed briefing from Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar over US special envoy Mark Grossman’s visit and the parliament-approved terms of engagements that were discussed with him.
Regarding Panetta’s remarks, Rabbani said, “US has been talking about the respect it has for our parliament’s review but it should keep in mind that now things have moved beyond the review and shifted to content.”
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.