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Senators on Friday condemned the killing of top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone attack in Iraq, saying the development entails serious repercussions for Pakistan while asking the Foreign Office to take a clear stance on the matter and take the Parliament into confidence.
"The United States has sown the seeds of unrest in the Middle East. The fire erupted by the US highhandedness is feared to engulf the entire nation," said former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). He was speaking on the floor of the House during the Senate session presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.
"The story would not end in Middle East. It's the US that will have to eventually bear the brunt of its misadventures."
Rabbani cautioned that the tension in Middle East would fuel oil crisis that would adversely affect Pakistan. "As a country that is highly dependent on oil, can we afford to survive the repercussions that this development (killing of Iranian general) is going to have?"
He asked Pakistan's Foreign Office to shun its 'traditionally passive' diplomatic approach and brief the Parliament on the matter. He demanded that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi should brief the Upper House of the Parliament on the issue.
"Proactive and aggressive diplomacy is the need of the hour. So much is happening in the Middle East but it seems that our Foreign Office is in deep slumber. We cannot stay detached from what is happening in the Middle East. It's high time for the foreign minister to show some sense of responsibility and brief the both the Houses of the Parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly, on the situation and Pakistan's policy in this regard."
According to reports, General Qassem Soleimani, the chief of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC's) Quds Force was killed in a US drone strike at Baghdad International Airport early Friday morning.
The top Iranian leadership including its powerful clergy and government has strongly reacted to the general's killing while reiterating revenge.
"This is a very dangerous development," PPP's Parliamentary leader Sherry Rehman said while speaking at the Senate session.
"This development entails potentially harmful consequences for us. In the aftermath of the killing of the general, the oil prices have gone up manifolds in the region. Imagine, if there is an oil crises, where would we go? Our country is totally dependent on oil imports," she said.
Rehman agreed with Rabbani that Foreign Office should take the Parliament into loop.
Slamming the absence of the ministers, she said, "We have gone sick and tired of talking to the empty front row. There is no one from the government to brief us on the government policies. Not a single minister is present in the House. It seems that the treasury benches have no regard for the Senate. Things cannot work like that," Rehman said while asking the chairman Senate to play his role to ensure the availability of the ministers.
The chairman Senate instructed Leader of the House in Senate Shibli Faraz to ensure the availability of the ministers and also to ensure that the government functionaries do not skip the related sessions of the Senate.
"The House needs to be briefed on the government's steps to highlight Kashmir issue and government's policy on the massive protests across India against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)," Rehman said.
Speaking at the floor of the house, Rehman Malik said, "If today Iraq has been attacked, tomorrow Pakistan can be challenged and threatened. What measures the government is taking to deal with this situation, we need to know."
He urged the government to call an all parties conference (APC) and joint session of the Parliament to discuss and formulate a national action plan on Kashmir and other aspects of foreign policy.
Meanwhile, the House commenced discussion on a motion on the Annual Report of the National Commission on the Status of Women for the year 2017 moved by Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari earlier on Thursday.
The senators discussed problems being faced by women across country. Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Mehr Taj Roughani, Kalsoom Parveen, Siraj ul Haq, Rubina Khalid, Usman Kakar, Sitara Ayaz, Sassui Palijo, Abdul Qayyum, Muhammad Ali Saif and Keshoo Bai took part in discussion.
In addition, on the recommendation of Sherry Rehman, the chairman Senate assigned a group of senators to visit Mansehra in support of a boy who was sexually abused by the cleric of a religious seminary.
The House will meet again today (Saturday) at 3:00pm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020