Monday, December 06, 2021
Our Correspondent

Govt to hold in-camera briefing on national security today without Opposition

NA Secretariat notifies fourth in-camera meeting of Parliamentary Committee on National Security will be held as per schedule

Our Correspondent
A file photo of the National Assembly.
A file photo of the National Assembly.

  • In-camera PCNS meeting today.
  • Opposition announced boycott of meeting, citing government's "dictatorial" behaviour, last week.
  • Govt again extends invitation to leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto.

ISLAMABAD: The PTI-led government has decided to hold its in-camera briefing of the national security committee by National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf today (Monday) in the absence of Opposition parties, The News reported Monday.

The Opposition, on Thursday, had announced a boycott of the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS), citing the government's "dictatorial" behaviour as its reason. But the government urged the Opposition to review their decision and earnestly attend the briefing.

The publication stated that the government has decided to hold the fourth in-camera briefing today at noon, once again extending an invitation to leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari despite their refusal to attend the meeting.

“The fourth in-camera meeting of the PCNS will be held as per its schedule on Monday, the 6th December, at 12:00 noon in the Committee Room No 2, Parliament House,” read a revised notice of the National Assembly Secretariat. 

The revised notice has been issued in continuation of the November 30 notification through which National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser had summoned the national security meeting to discuss the security situation in the country and the region. The NSA is scheduled to give a presentation on the national security policy in the briefing.

Accusing the government of riding roughshod over the Constitution and making Parliament a “rubber stamp”, the joint opposition had announced a boycott of the in-camera briefing slated to be held on December 6.

The opposition was also irked by the ruling party’s act of bulldozing bills during the joint session of Parliament and the conspicuous absence of Prime Minister Imran Khan from the previous sessions of the PCNS.

Fawad urges Opposition to rethink decision 

In response to the opposition’s boycott, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry had said that the decision was “unfortunate”.

Urging the Opposition to rethink and attend the briefing, the information minister had said that it was the first time in seven decades that a government was presenting its policy on national security in Parliament.

He had said it was a matter of national security and not a political event. 

Marriyum criticises PM Imran Khan for not attending briefings

In response to Chaudhry’s tweet, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the joint Opposition was more committed to issues of national security than the government, which was why it participated in all such briefings in the past while “Prime Minister Imran Khan didn’t even bother to attend a single one of them.”

Marriyum said it was a pity that “Imran Khan’s arrogance, ego and stubbornness prohibited him from participating in any national consultation process.” 

For the first time in seven decades, she said, “it was unfortunate that [PM] Imran boycotted all those meetings, the meeting on COVID-19; it is even more unfortunate that Imran also boycotted the parliamentary sessions on Jammu and Kashmir and [the] Abhinandan issue, and it is extremely unfortunate that Imran boycotted the meeting on an important national interest issue like FATF”.

Earlier, in a statement, the joint opposition in Parliament, while calling the prime minister “selected”, had said that PM Imran Khan did not even attend the meetings on important national issues, including the one called to discuss the situation in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK).

Moreover, they accused the prime minister of being “ignorant” of the spirit of democratic consultations and the importance of difference of opinion, adding that he did not have the capability of using the collective wisdom of the nation for the betterment of the country and the people.

They said that the in-camera briefing would merely provide the government with another chance to put up a show that would have nothing to do with the critical issues facing the country and the people today, or providing solutions to those problems.

While calling NSA Moeed Yusuf merely a “showpiece”, the opposition parties had said that neither did the NSA have the relevant information nor the authority to take any decisions. They added that his briefing would not have anything to do with real factors and future blueprints.