Opposition decides to boycott in-camera briefing on national security

Says govt's recent move to bulldoze important bills in Parliament, "dictatorial attitude" prompted boycott

Asif Bashir Chaudhary
A file photo of the National Assembly.
A file photo of the National Assembly. 

  • Opposition says it treats issues of national security, external and internal threats seriously. 
  • Says government's recent move to bulldoze important bills in Parliament and "dictatorial attitude" prompted it to boycott in-camera session. 
  • "In reality, it is the government that has practically boycotted Parliament, which is a constitutional and legal forum of the public," says Opposition. 

ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties have decided to boycott the upcoming in-camera briefing of the national security committee to be held on December 6, citing the government's "dictatorial" behaviour as its reason. 

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 Advisor 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, including Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, opposition leader in the Senate Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem, Maulana Asad Mehmood of the JUI-F, Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema of PML-Q, Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui of the MQM-Pakistan, Khalid Magsi of BAP, Ghuos Buksh Mehar from GDA, Amir Haider Khan of the ANP, Sheikh Rasheed of Awami Muslim League, BNP chief Akhtar Mengal, Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti of JWP, parliamentary leader of the PPP in Senate Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Azam Tarar of PML-N and senators Anwarul Haq Kakar, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor, Faisal Ali Sabzwari, Tahir Bizanjo, Hidayatullah Khan, Shafiq Tareen, Kamil Ali Agha, Mushtaq Ahmed, Muzafar Hussain, Muhammad Qasim and Dilawar Khan. 

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.