Senate body directs ministry: 'Foreign boots on Pak soil to be considered forbidden under parliament's directive'
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Committee on Defence and National Security, on Tuesday, directed the Ministry of Defence that foreign boots on Pakistani soil, or any foreign intelligence operations on Pakistani territory are to be considered forbidden under the parliament's directive, which is to be considered as Pakistan's state policy guidelines for the future.
The committee also adopted the Work Plan for 2021 and ensure implementation of work plan.
The committee met under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and received a comprehensive briefing from the Ministry of Defence.
The committee underlined that it would work closely with the Ministry of Defence to ensure the implementation of the 14-point work plan, which includes detailed briefings on the three services as well as a briefing on intelligence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, visits to Siachen, Waziristan and the Line of Control (LoC) for solidarity with our soldiers, briefing on CPEC security, visits to CMH and other military hospitals to express sympathy with those wounded during counter-terror operations as well as a special visit to the graves of Nishan-e-Haider recipient martyrs on September 6, the Pakistan Defence Day.
Senator Mushahid Hussain and other members of the committee offered Fateha for the soldiers, civilians, and officers, who have laid down their lives in defence of the motherland.
He also paid tributes to his predecessor, Senator Walid Iqbal, for his positive role.
Mushahid Hussain said the Committee on Defence and National Security would function above party lines with a national perspective that seeks to preserve, protect and promote Pakistan's defence and national security, while also acting as a bridge between Khaki and Mufti in promoting intra-institutional harmony.
He underlined that in those challenging times, issues on defence and national security required efforts at national level, since, the role of the armed forces, the government, the parliament, people, media, and political parties, was inextricably intertwined to achieve common national goals on defence and national security.
Mushahid Hussain also underlined that in Pakistan's transition from geo-politics to geo-economics, the notion of national security could no longer be confined to military components alone such as tanks, planes or military equipment, but it had to be based on the notion of human security that made people the pivot of defence and national security, incorporating such areas as economy, health, population planning, climate change, and food and water scarcity.
On related issues, the committee also underlined the need that the two percent disability quota be fully implemented in the Ministry of Defence in letter and spirit, with the Secretary Defence committing to comply with this direction.
Mushahid Hussain conveyed the sense of the committee to the Ministry of Defence that in future, the Minister of Defence should also be present during meetings of the committee.
The meeting received a detailed briefing on the working of the three services and the functions of the Ministry of Defence.
Mushahid Hussain presented a copy of the terms of engagements, which the parliament of Pakistan had unanimously approved on April 12, 2012 pursuant to the report of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which was then headed by Senator Raza Rabbani and of which Senator Mushahid Hussain was also a member, and they both helped in drafting those recommendations, which were later unanimously adopted by parliament.
After adopting it, the Senate Defence Committee referred it to the Ministry of Defence, with the direction that on the issue of bases, foreign "boots on the ground", foreign intelligence operations on Pakistani territory, that all of these are forbidden under the parliament's directive and this document is to be considered as Pakistan's state policy guidelines for the future on such issues.
The meeting was attended by senators Faisal Javed, Mushtaq Ahmad, Hidayatullah, Walid Iqbal, Engineer Rukhsana Zuberi, Dr Zarqa Suharwardi Taimur, and Palwasha Khan, and Secretary of the Committee, Maj Husnain Haider (rtd).
The Ministry of Defence was represented by Secretary Defence Lt Gen Mian Hilal Hussain (retd), Additional Secretary Maj Gen Khurram Nawaz Khan, and Additional Secretary AVM Kazim Hammad.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021