ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers in the National Assembly, on Monday, demanded the government answer whether or not it has given any airbase to the US as it starts pullout from Afghanistan after its protracted war.
Speaking on a point of order, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal said that “we demand the government tell the House whether it has given any airspace to the US. We want to know is there any truth in it that Pakistan is once again going to give airspace to the US. We should be told that it would not impact the sovereignty of the country, as we’re opposed to giving airbases to US.”
He said the then president Gen Musharraf took a unilateral decision about giving airbases to the US troop, which was not in the interest of the country, adding that “since he [Musharraf] was a dictator, but this time around, we would not accept any unilateral decision in this regard.”
A week ago, the government had categorically denied that it would give military bases for the US forces amid rampant speculation that it had agreed to a post-troop withdrawal from Afghanistan deal that will facilitate Washington’s regional counterterrorism operations.
Another PML-N leader, Khurram Dastgir Khan, said that the House should be briefed about where the civil and military leaders stand with regard to “providing airbases to the US.”
Responding to the PML-N duo, parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Andleeb Abbas said that “the government, the military, the cabinet and the prime minister are on one page as far as the foreign policy of the country is concerned”.
She said that Pakistan is playing a crucial role in bringing peace in Afghanistan as it has played a historic role for restoring peace in the landlocked neighbouring country.
She said that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi would brief the House about the issue.
The House passed two government bills – PAF Air War College Institute Bill, 2021 and Pakistan Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – and extended Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for another 120 days with effect from June 11.
The PAF Air War College Institute Bill, 2021 is aimed at reorganising Pakistan Air Force War College as a degree-awarding institute.
The Pakistan Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2020 is aimed at amending the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965 to the extent of the Islamabad Capital Territory.
The bill was also passed by the House after clause-by-clause reading.
Besides, the Annual Report 2020 of the Election Commission of Pakistan was laid before the National Assembly.
The House adopted a resolution to extend the Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 for a further period of 120 days with effect from June 11, 2021.
The resolution was tabled by Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that it had been decided, in principle, to grant technical allowance to registered engineers of departments and ministries of federal government as admissible in the provinces.
Responding to a calling attention notice by Khawaja Sheraz Mehmood, Gul Zafar Khan, Jawad Hussain and others regarding non-payment of technical allowance/engineering allowance to the registered engineers, he said that a summary would be sent to Finance Ministry after completion of procedural formalities.
He said the technical allowance would be 1.5 percent of basic salary and added that Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) had been assigned the task to compile data of engineers, working in various departments and entities of the federal government.
He said data from some departments had been received but data from certain departments including energy, water resources, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and GB, Housing and Narcotics, etc., were still awaited.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021