ISLAMABAD - Chairman Senate Committee on Defence and Defence Production, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, has observed that overall role of Parliament is more proactive and broader and it is now a player on issues of public significance.Senator Mushahid expressed these views while addressing a delegation of students of National Defence University at the Parliament House. He said that Pakistan is changing through a democratic evolution, in which there are now multiple power centres such as a vibrant media, an independent judiciary and active civil society, apart from the military and political establishments, and these factors have greatly transformed the functioning of the Parliament. “Parliament represents the aspirations and interests of the people of Pakistan, as demonstrated by the robust debate in the Parliamentary Committee on National Security”, Mushahid added.Answering various questions from participants on the issue of defence and national security, Senator Mushahid said that there existed unanimity of opinion on how to protect our national interests in the changing scenario at regional as well as global level. Specifically talking about ties with United States, he stated that the policy guidelines have been formulated by the parliamentary committee on national security having representation from all the political parties, which were later endorsed by Parliament.Referring to the evolving role of parliament, he said in the past also, committees had been effective, citing opposition to the Iraq War, the Balochistan Committee report and briefings that were organised on the nuclear programme.Senator Mushahid, referring to the role of the defence committee, said there was need for civil-military harmony to counter internal and external threats, plus a need to redefine the contours of national defence in these changing times.The Defence Committee would be a bridge between Khaki and Mufti. He also referred to the fact that we need to understand the emerging non-military threats to Pakistan like cyber warfare, sectarian terrorism, anti-Pakistan propaganda and climate change. Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee suggested that Pakistan’s National Security Paradigm has to be redefined and that all the stake holders like political parties, parliament, economy, education and energy have to be part of it. He urged the youth to take active part in social discourse and speak on issues to have their impact on policy making. He said Pakistanis were vibrant and vigour, and the overwhelming majority had faith in the future, adding that popular pressure would ensure course correction. He also invited the students to observe committee meetings and pointed out that the Defence Committee would start public hearings so that the committee may formulate transparent recommendations on the basis of input provided by experts and professionals in the field of Defence and Defence Production. The Defence Committee already had started an internship programme and was working on a new website.Earlier Secretary Senate Iftikharullah Babar and Special Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez gave a detailed over view of the working, performance and role of Parliament particularly the Senate in the legislation, policy guidance and oversight of the executive. They also responded to various quires of the participants with regard to committee system and over all working of the Parliament.