ISLAMABAD: Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani constituted a 13-member committee on Thursday to draw up policy guidelines and help the government adopt a robust strategy in the face of India’s brinkmanship.
In this regard the Committee of the Whole House held an in-camera meeting. With Rabbani in the chair, the committee sought a briefing from the government on the situation between Pakistan and India.
Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, along with the defence secretary and Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz briefed the committee on the latest situation along the border with India, its relations with us and the steps being taken by the government to respond to the situation. The briefings were followed by an extensive question-and-answer session. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif seemed to be unaware of India’s claims of “carrying out surgical strikes along the Line of Control”. However, he did say that Pakistan is ready to deal with any aggression.
The committee members criticised the policies of the government, asking for it to get things in order in the home country first. They voiced their concern over the country’s strained relations with all its neighbours.
“There is a need to address issues at home. Our relations with all our neighbours remain tense,” they maintained.
The committee members recommended the government deal with India’s nefarious designs on the Indus Waters Treaty pragmatically. The committee took serious note of grave human rights violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir and recent incidents of ceasefire violations by India along the Line of Control.
After detailed and extensive deliberations, the Senate chairman constituted a drafting committee to prepare draft policy guidelines.
The committee comprises Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Sirajul Haq, Senator Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Senator Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini, Senator Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Senator Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Lt-General (retd) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah and Senator Muhammad Mohsin Khan.
The next meeting will be held on October 4 to finalise the policy guidelines.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2016.
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