NA seeks briefing about govt stance on US drone attacks


ISLAMABAD: Terming the recent US drone attack in the tribal areas a new threat to the sovereignty of the country, the National Assembly directed the defence ministry to brief the house on the government’s stance on the matter.
On the last day of the session, the house was dominated by security issues — US drone strikes, restoration of the visa-on-arrival policy and international mapping which shows Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as parts of India.
The members from the opposition as well as the treasury benches strongly condemned the drone strike.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Shafqat Mehmood said that in the prevailing state of relations between the US and Pakistan the drone strike was a ‘new threat’ to the sovereignty of the motherland. He feared that more US drone strikes could be witnessed in the tribal areas and said the condemnation by the Foreign Office was not enough.
“I am worried as to how far the US will go during the current confrontation with Pakistan,” he added.
He urged the government to seek an apology from the US and ask the United Nations to take notice of the drone strike. Pakistan should also move the International Court of Justice against the US administration, he added.
Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi directed the defence ministry to come up with the government stance on the issue.
Shazia Marri of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) asked the chair to convene a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and demanded a policy be chalked out to give a befitting response to the US.
Asyia Nasir of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl asked the defence ministry to brief the house on the issue.
Former interior minister and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan again raised the issue of ‘visa on arrival’ and said the issuance of visas to foreigners on their arrival in Pakistan would raise security threats in the country.
“Not a single visa was issued on arrival during my tenure as interior minister,” he added.
He said only one violation was committed during my tenure as interior minister and it was done by some army personnel. “On that I had written to the GHQ and told it that no violation will be tolerated in future,” he said.
He criticised the media for portraying that he and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal came face to face in the house on Wednesday on the issue of visa on arrival. “I always supported a right thing even if it came from the opposition,” he added.
The house was informed that the maps on Google and sites of other international bodies showed Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of India.
It was also told that some Afghani refugee schools had been teaching the syllabus which also showed both Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of India.
The chair directed the interior ministry to ask the UN High Com­missioner for Refugees why anti-Pakistan syllabus was being taught in refugee camps. He also asked the Foreign Office to take up the matter with Google and other international bodies.
The house was informed that Sindh and Balochistan were not getting their due share of water under the Indus River System Authority accord.
Shazia Marri raised the issue of Pakistani prisoner Zulfiqar Ali languishing in Indonesian jail for over seven years. “He is suffering from cancer and has only three months to live. In these circumstances, the government of Pakistan should take up the matter with the Indonesian government for his early release,” she said.


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