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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday regretted the opposition parties’ decision to boycott an all-important meeting of the parliamentary committee on national security.

“It is for the first time in seven decades that any government is presenting its security policy before parliament. This is not a political matter but a national security issue,” he said, while urging the opposition to review its decision.

He said that the opposition’s boycott of parliament’s national security committee meeting is regrettable, adding all the political parties should participate in the meeting as it is a matter of national security and there should be no politics on it.

A day ago, the opposition announced that they would boycott the in-camera briefing of the parliamentary national security committee.

The opposition said that they took the decision after seeing the government’s attitude in the last month’s joint sitting of parliament. It accused the government of bulldozing multiple bills including the controversial law dealing with the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Following consultations, the opposition issued a joint statement stating that the government had informed that the in-camera briefing of the committee will be held on December 6. The briefing is supposed to be given by National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf.

“In the past too, we have always played a historic role in safeguarding, guarding and promoting the rights and interests of the country and the people. Affiliations paid off. But it is very unfortunate that the government is adopting the policy of using parliament as a rubber stamp,” noted the statement.

The opposition alleged that important national and public issues were not being brought in parliament.

“In such circumstances, such an “in-camera” briefing would merely pave the way for a new government spectacle that had nothing to do with the performance of serious and critical issues facing the country and the people or progress towards their solution,” said the opposition.

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 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.

The chief ministers of the provinces, the president and the 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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