- Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry terms Opposition’s decision to boycott in-camera briefing on national security “unfortunate”.
- Says “it is a matter of national security, not a political affair”.
- First time in seven decades that a govt is presenting its policy on national security in Parliament, says Chaudhry.
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, in reaction to the Opposition’s announcement to boycott the upcoming in-camera briefing of the national security committee, said that the decision is unfortunate.
The Opposition parties announced on Thursday their decision not to participate in the meeting to be held on December 6, citing the government’s “dictatorial” behaviour as its reason.
Taking to Twitter, Fawad urged the Opposition to review its decision and earnestly attend the meeting.
“It is the first time in seven decades that a government is presenting its policy on national security in the Parliament,” he wrote.
“It is a matter of national security, not a political affair,” Chaudhry said.
‘Government’s dictatorial attitude’
On Thursday, a press release by Parliament’s united Opposition stated that parties that are part of the Pakistan Democratic Movement anti-government alliance have always treated issues involving the Constitution, law, national security and general public with seriousness and attached importance to them.
The media release said that not only did the Opposition parties and their leaders attend briefings on these issues, despite the absence of the prime minister, but also provided recommendations to solve the issues.
The Opposition’s statement said that the government’s dictatorial attitude and their recent move to bulldoze important bills in Parliament prompted it to boycott the in-camera briefing session.
The press release stated that it was disappointing that the government was turning Parliament into a “rubber-stamp” institution with its recent actions.
The Opposition accused the government of not raising important issues related to external and internal threats and those concerning the common man, adding that it was tackling vital issues through such in-camera briefings.
“In reality, it is the government that has practically boycotted Parliament, which is a constitutional and legal forum of the public,” said the Opposition’s statement.
The Opposition said that the prime minister had not attended Parliamentary briefings and sessions, giving an example of a session on occupied Kashmir. The statement added that it indicates how the prime minister does not believe in the democratic spirit of consultation and the importance of tolerating differing opinions.
It said that in such circumstances, attending the in-camera briefing session would help the government stage another drama that has nothing to do with the critical issues facing the country.
Taking aim at National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf, the Opposition stated that it believed Yusuf is deprived of the relevant authority that his position commands, adding that he is a mere “showpiece”.
The Opposition includes the PML-N, PPP, JUI-F, PK-MAP, JI, ANP, BNP-Mengal, Qaumi Watan, NP and Mohsin Dawar.
Parliamentary committee on national security meets December 6
National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had earlier summoned a meeting of the national security committee on December 6 to discuss important issues related to the country.
NSA Moeed Yusuf will brief lawmakers on national security and other issues during the meeting.
The National Assembly Secretariat sent invitations to leaders of all parliamentary parties in both Houses of the Senate.
The chief ministers of the provinces, president and prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as well as Gilgit-Baltistan chief minister were also invited to the meeting as special invitees.
Federal ministers, including Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Shafqat Mehmood, Ali Amin Gandapur, Asad Umar, Syed Fakhar Imam, Hammad Azhar, Dr Shireen Mazari and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, Adviser to PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin as well secretaries of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, interior, defense, finance, Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan and national security will be special invitees.
The last Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) meeting was held on November 8, in which the parliamentary leaders were briefed on the government-TTP talks.