Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Tuesday rubbished allegations emanating from the opposition over the government’s ‘inadequate’ response to skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC), which had resulted in the killings of three Pakistani soldiers.
“We take pride in the fact that a democratic Pakistan has shown commitment of not escalating the tension,” Khar said in response to Leader of the Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s criticism.
Khar briefed the house about the series of incidents that began on January 6, when two Pakistani soldiers were wounded by Indian forces some 400-500 metres inside their territory.
“We used the existing mechanism of communication between the DG Military Operations and pointed out to India their provocative behavior,” said Khar, adding that the government also demanded a UN probe into the incident to show Pakistan’s commitment to normalise relations.
The foreign minister said Pakistan’s foreign policy was not dictated by reacting to somebody else’s irresponsible behavior.
“If offering to resolve all the issues through dialogue is equal to sleeping of the government … then yes we were sleeping,” she said, adding that Pakistan had made a mark in the world by showing commitment to the peace process and resolution of issues through dialogue instead of escalation and war mongering.
Referring to a shift in the military’s doctrine, Khar said, “We are very much aware of the challenges emanating from eastern borders but must not be delusional about the challenges within Pakistan.”
Earlier, Nisar had censured the government for not handing the ceasefire violations with respect and honour.
“The government is in deep slumber and subservient to several external powers,” said Nisar.
Talking about the creation of new provinces in Punjab, Nisar censured Punjab Governor Makhdoom Ahmed Mehmood for issuing political statements over the issue during a public rally.
“Governors are supposed to be apolitical and have no right to take parliamentary powers in their hands,” he said, adding that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) was the only sincere party when it came to the new provinces issue.
Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira responded to Nisar’s criticism, saying “the governor Punjab had not sinned by making a statement on the creation of new provinces.”
The 49th session of the lower house is likely to be the incumbent government’s last, according to many members from the government and opposition alike.
Meanwhile, JUI-F’s Maulana Attaur Rehman criticised the government for imposing governor’s rule in Balochistan.
“If you think [governor’s rule] was the solution to the problems, then it should be imposed in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.”
Later on, Rehman staged a walkout to protest against governor’s rule in Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2013.