ISLAMABAD: An eight-hour long meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security was held on Thursday in which the National Security Apparatus briefed the parliamentarians on national security issues.
During the in-camera meeting at Parliament House, the parliamentarians expressed satisfaction over the briefing provided by Director General Inter Services Intelligence Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed.
The meeting was chaired by National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and was also attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General Inter Services Public Relations (DG ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar.
Government representatives included Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid, Housing Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and Senate Leader Dr. Shehzad Wasim.
Opposition leaders called on Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Senator Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, JUI-F parliamentary leader Maulana Asad Mahmood and ANP leader Amir. Haider Azam Shamil Khan Hoti, and Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM.
In addition, BNP leader Akhtar Mengal, BAP’s Khalid Hussain Magsi, Ghous Bakhsh Mehr, Senators Sherry Rehman, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Faisal Sabzwari, Kamil Ali Agha, Mushtaq Ahmed and others were also present.
Prime Minister Imran Khan did not attend either of the two sessions.
Briefing session of the meeting
During the first session, DG ISI Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed briefed on the current situation in Kashmir and Afghanistan as well as the internal and external security situation, and the challenges posed by the evolving nature of developments in the region.
According to an official statement issued after the briefing, the meeting was informed that Pakistan has played a very positive and responsible role in the Afghan peace process.
The meeting was told, “Pakistan’s efforts paved the way for dialogue between Afghan factions and warring factions,” while it was also informed that due to Islamabad’s efforts, meaningful dialogue between the US and the Taliban began. Is.
“Sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan will lead to stability in South Asia,” the meeting was told.
The participants were further informed that Pakistan would welcome a government that truly represents the Afghan people and would continue its responsible role for peace in Afghanistan.
“Pakistan’s territory is not being used in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan […] The DG ISI told the meeting, and we hope that the territory of Afghanistan will not be used against Pakistan.
The meeting was informed that the work of fencing the Pak-Afghan border is 90 per cent complete, while an effective system of customs and border control is also being set up.
“The political and parliamentary leadership expressed satisfaction at the briefing,” the statement said.
Private sources from the meeting told Geo News that the meeting was also informed that due to the unrest in Afghanistan, 500,000 to 70,000 Afghan refugees are likely to come to Pakistan, who will be confined to the border areas.
During the second session, MPs asked questions and made recommendations, according to the statement. “The recommendations will be considered an important part of the security policy.”
The statement said that the political leadership has expressed its desire for peace, development and prosperity in Afghanistan.
The participants of the meeting said that such meetings play an important role in building consensus on important national issues and also strengthen coordination on various issues.
Fawad defended the absence of the Prime Minister
Before the meeting began, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry defended the Prime Minister’s absence, saying that it had been decided that members of the defense and national security committees would attend.
The Federal Minister said that the political parties have been informed that their elected members may attend the meeting, while members of the Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee will also attend.
It is forbidden to carry a mobile phone inside the meeting room, therefore, all participants took their phones.
Audio and video recordings of the meeting will be sealed in front of the speaker.
Employees of the NA and Senate Secretariat were sent on leave due to the National Security Committee meeting.
An NA spokesman said journalists were barred from entering Parliament House.
The spokesman said that the media is allowed when the parliament convenes. “What will the media do here when Parliament closes?” The spokesman added.
Meanwhile, NA Leader of the Opposition Shahbaz Sharif told the media during the break that he was satisfied with the briefing given during the meeting, but declined to give any details.
Asked if General Bajwa had answered questions during the meeting, Shahbaz said: “Yes, he did.”
‘Politics is no joke’
Talking to media at Parliament House, former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that Shahbaz had spoken on behalf of PML-N.
“We have not been informed that the United States has requested the base,” he said. “No one is giving anyone a base and no one has asked them,” he added.
Abbasi said decision-making and policy-making was not ongoing during the meeting, but information was being provided, adding that politics was “not a circus” that should expect new details every day.
The former prime minister said that the military brass has given its opinion, and now the political leadership will make its decision.
The absence of the Prime Minister was discussed today […] There was no problem in coming. They should have been present at the time as the country’s policies were being discussed.
He said that the success of the opposition was that the meeting had been going on for the last five hours.
‘United for national security’
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid while talking to media in Parliament House said that the opposition and the government are united on issues related to national security.
He said all parties have given input for the betterment of the country, adding that each participant in the meeting has a “unified agenda”.
“All parties have said they will stand behind the Pakistan Army for national security,” he said.
Bilawal welcomes the briefing
Earlier, Bilawal announced that he would attend the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on Afghanistan after welcoming the decision to convene a meeting of the body of National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.
Speaking on Twitter on Monday, Bilawal had said that he had demanded in the National Assembly that the parliament be briefed on the situation in Afghanistan by the relevant departments and agencies.
“We welcome the Speaker’s decision and will attend the NSC Committee meeting on this issue.”
Pakistan has on several occasions raised the issue of peaceful resolution of the Afghan Umbrella and appealed to all groups to sit down and resolve their differences.
Talking to US media, Prime Minister Imran Khan pointed out that there is no military solution and no preferred choice for Pakistan.
Violence in the war-torn country has escalated since the withdrawal of foreign troops.
In a recent interview, National Security Adviser Dr. Moeed Yousaf also expressed concern about the current situation in Afghanistan, saying “this is not good.”
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