ISLAMABAD - Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah has said the opposition parties have not so far decided whether to become part of the Parliamentary Committee for Electoral Reforms proposed by the government, adding they will come up with a unified response when the NA speaker formally seeks their input on the matter.
The decision to this effect was taken at the joint meeting of the opposition parties held here at the Parliament House on Wednesday with Khursheed Shah in the chair.
Prominent among those who attended the meeting were Naveed Qamar, PTI Vice Chariman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Shireen Mazari, JI Parliamentary Leader Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid and Tariq Cheema.
The meeting also discussed the opposition’s strategy for the ongoing budget session, besides finalising cut-motions and other relevant matters, one of the MPs who attended the meeting informed The Nation.
The meeting held that it was the responsibility of the government to ensure quorum in the house and decided they would not compromise on the issue and point it out whenever they found quorum was lacking.
It was further decided that the government would be asked to take the opposition into confidence about what they termed confused policy on dealing with the growing militancy in the country.
Khursheed said the government had not benefited from the all-out support the APC had extended to it to deal with militancy, but had failed to come up with some clear-cut policy on the issue.
He said they would ask the government to take all the political parties into confidence on the matter and inform them of its future line of action. It should also tell the opposition if it was going to launch an operation in Waziristan Agency or not.
To a question about the prime minister’s proposal on formation of a parliamentary committee on electoral reforms, Shah said the opposition parties would come up with some unified response when the NA speaker formally took up the matter with them.
Responding to a similar question in this connection, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said they had not been approached by the government on this or any other issue yet. He further said they would take decision in consultation with other opposition parties in the Parliament when the matter came before them. He asked the government to lodge protest with New Delhi and demand an explanation over the recovery of Indian arms and Factor-VIII injections from the terrorists who attacked the Karachi airport on Sunday.
Khursheed Shah said if the government decided to reconsider the mandate of dialogue with Taliban, it should convene an all-parties conference. He said it was not a political, but a national security issue, and all the parties should strengthen the hands of the government. He said the federal government should not blame the provincial government for security failure regarding the Karachi airport attack.
To a question, the opposition leader said the process of electoral reforms was initiated during the tenure of PPP government during which the voters lists were corrected and it was decided to have photographs of the voters on the electoral lists. He said the election commission was made autonomous, but they were certain deficiencies which would now be removed.
To another question, the opposition leader said the army action against terrorists four months back drew positive results and if the government and the army had been on one page, the situation would have been different.
He emphasised the need for making the intelligence network more viable and strong as that would help improve the situation.