Accusing the government of riding roughshod over the Constitution and making parliament a ‘rubber stamp’, the joint opposition decided on Thursday to boycott the in-camera briefing on the national security issues slated to be held on December 6.
Irked by the ruling party’s way of bulldozing bills during the joint session of parliament and the conspicuous absence of Prime Minister Imran Khan from the previous sessions of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, the opposition said that government’s dictatorial attitude was another reason not to attend the briefing.
On November 30, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had summoned the national security meeting to discuss the security situation in the country and the region, where National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf would give a briefing to the parliamentarians.
Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the opposition parties should “review their decision and show a responsible attitude” as the government was facilitating the opposition by giving them a briefing on the national security issues.
In a statement, the joint opposition in parliament, while calling the prime minister “selected” said that the Imran Khan did not even attend the meetings on important national issues, including the one called to discuss the situation in the Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Listing another reason, they accused the prime minister of being “ignorant” of the spirit of democratic consultations and the importance of difference of opinion, adding that he did not have the capability of using the collective wisdom of the nation for the betterment of the country and the people.
They said that the in-camera briefing would merely provide the government another chance to put up a show that would have nothing to do with the critical issues, facing the country and the people today, or providing solution to those problems.
In addition, the joint opposition’s statement continued, crucial internal and external issues as well as issues of national and public importance were neither being discussed nor debated in parliament, which was mandatory under the democratic, constitutional and parliamentary norms.
“Parliament is constantly being ignored and matters are being run through in-camera briefings”, the joint opposition lamented. “In fact,” the statement read, “the government has practically boycotted parliament, which is the basic constitutional, legal and public forum in a democracy”.
While calling NSA Moeed Yusuf merely a “showpiece”, the opposition parties said that neither the NSA had the relevant information nor the authority to take any decisions, adding that his briefing would not have anything to do with the real factors and future blueprints.
The statement maintained that the opposition parties had always shown a responsible attitude on all issues, pertaining to the Constitution, law, national security and issues of public importance by fully participating in such briefings. It, however, had decided not to be the part of the meeting this time.
In the previous NSC meetings, the top military leadership had briefed the lawmakers from the Senate and the National Assembly on matters pertaining to national security, foreign affairs, as well as internal and external challenges faced by the county.
Despite, the opposition’s announcement of the boycott, the meeting was still on, an official of the Speaker’s Office said. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry also said that the meeting had not yet been cancelled and urged the opposition parties to rethink about their decision of boycotting the briefing.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Chaudhry said that the “NSC meeting was not a political event” that the opposition boycotted, rather it would be a meeting to discuss the issues having direct impact on the national security.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ