Chaos, sloganeering in Senate over NSP

Opposition up in arms over non-presentation of security policy’s draft


Our Correspondent December 29, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The opposition lawmakers on Wednesday staged a noisy protest in Senate over the non-presentation of the National Security Policy’s (NSP) draft before the House.

They shouted slogans against the PTI-led government and came face to face with members of the treasury benches near the Senate chairman’s dais.

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, who was presiding over the session, repeatedly asked members from both sides of the aisle to return to their seats.

Earlier speaking on the non-presentation of the draft, PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman said the approved NSP would just be a piece of paper and the ground realities would be different.

“What kind of national security is this when the central bank is being mortgaged?” she asked.

“Which security policy allows the IMF [International Monetary Fund] to run the country's economy?”

Treasury member Senator Mohsin Aziz intervened and tried to stop her from speaking further.

Read NSA presents country's first-ever national security policy draft

In response, Sherry announced that she was staging a walkout from the House.

On this occasion, Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem asked the opposition senators to have the courage to listen to the response.

He said this was the first-ever NSP formulated in the country. He added that when the policy was presented to the National Security Committee (NSC), the opposition had boycotted the House.

Waseem maintained that as those in uniform did not attend the NSC meeting, therefore the opposition also boycotted it.

“The opposition members come running to those meetings in which uniformed members participate,” he added.

He further pointed out that the PPP had approached the IMF 10 times followed by the PML-N with four.

“They left behind loans of $55 billion. We have repaid $29 billion and $12 billion remains,” he claimed.

Triggered by Waseem’s statement, opposition members started chanting anti-government slogans and gathered in front of the chairman’s dais.

In response, the treasury members also left their seats and started shouting slogans.

They returned to their seats on the chairman’s repeated requests but continued to exchange heated words.

Opposition member Senator Mushtaq Ahmed criticised the government for sacking railways patrollers.

“Those who give the example of Riasat-e-Madina should explain why these patrollers were fired,” he added.

“The sacking of the patrollers has left railway tracks unsafe and at risk of being targeted by terrorists.”

Read More Military terms NSP ‘important milestone’ in meeting emerging challenges

The senator claimed that the expenses of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Governor’s House had been increased by Rs50 million and three massage therapists had been hired.

He demanded that the massage therapists be sacked.

In response, Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan quipped that massage and boot polishing both should be avoided. “It is a political matter.” he added.

The state minister said the Railways had the right to make the tracks safe.

“The patrollers did not have technical skills. They are being replaced by gangmen. The gangmen have the ability to fix the track as they are technical people. The gangmen will patrol the tracks.”

However, he added that whether patrolling the tracks or not was an administrative decision of the Railways.

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