ISLAMABAD: Amid growing calls for taking parliament into confidence with respect to national security in the face of American threats, President Asif Ali Zardari has summoned a National Assembly session on October 3 to discuss the possibility of US surgical strikes in Pakistan.
The NA session has been convened at a time when the US is considering the option of surgical strikes in North Waziristan against the Haqqani network. The Obama administration has indicated it will unilaterally strike targets inside Pakistan after Joint Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen stated in his testimony before the Senate that the ISI was closely tied to the Haqqani network and was involved in an assault on the US embassy in Kabul last week. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has advised the president to summon the National Assembly session for a debate on national security, according to a statement from the prime minister’s house on Saturday.
The PML-N was the first to voice the demand for a parliamentary session when leader of the opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan stated in a press conference that national security and sovereignty were under threat and the government should take the nation into confidence to formulate a national policy.
Khan said threats from Americans in the past few weeks were not only a cause of concern but a risk to the country’s sovereignty. The PML-N was to requisition a session in the coming days but the government pre-empted the move. According to the parliamentary calendar, the NA session was due in the first week of October anyway.
The PML-N said it would also discuss the crisis in Karachi and the overall law and order situation in the country in the upcoming session. In addition, issues like price hike and shortage of electricity will also come under discussion.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.