ISLAMABAD - Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PNSC) has agreed to link the Nato supply resumption to immediate cessation to the drone attacks and delete some of the clauses of the 40-point recommendations it submitted to the parliament.
Afrasiab Khattak, Fazlur Rehman, Sardar Mehtab Ahmad Abbasi, Mushahid Hussain Syed and Farooq Sattar attended the meeting, which restarted scanning the proposals. It was decided to allow the medicines and food items supply to Nato forces in Afghanistan via Pakistan.
It was also agreed that clauses pertaining to mechanism of granting permission to the foreign intelligence operatives and spies operating in the country in guise of defence-related contractors would also be deleted. Similarly, the clause relating to the doling out airbases to some foreign country for operation against any neighbouring state would also be omitted from the proposals. Sources in the committee informed The Nation that it was the consensus view of the members that the parliament should draw the broader contours of the overall foreign policy of the country while the rest of the job should be left to the technical people to deal with.
It was also decided that the parliamentary overview on the country’s foreign policy should be made a permanent feature and any future agreements with any state would require clearance from the parliament.
In the parliamentary parties’ heads meeting in Prime Minister’s House Thursday night, it was decided that the PCNS should have informal sessions to evolve consensus on all the proposed recommendations and present the amended draft before the joint sitting of the parliament by April 5. All the parties agreed on levying heaving tax on the Nato containers and making them subject to strict scanning and clearance, provided the other conditions for Nato supplies restoration are met.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, PCNS Chairman Raza Rabbani said that the committee would meet on daily basis to build consensus among the political parties on the proposed recommendations.
To another question, he said that the committee was not bound by any deadline and April 5 was a tentative date for completion of their task. He added as soon as they evolved consensus, the recommendations would be tabled before the parliament for approval.
He also observed that committee would try to make the amended draft acceptable to all the parties and their support for redrafted recommendations would be ensured prior to laying them before the joint sitting.
JUI-F President Fazlur Rehman said the committee would continue its efforts to draft the recommendations in light of the aspirations of the nation. He termed restoration of Nato supply, permitting foreign intelligence operatives inside Pakistan and handing airbases to foreign forces as contentious issues, adding that the opposition parties wanted clear-cut rules in this connection. He stressed that Nato supply should not be restored as people had strong reservations over it because Pakistan by joining the international war on terror as an ally has suffered losses of billions of rupees and thousands of lives.
Fazl said that they have been assured by competent and responsible authorities that so far no assurance to United States was given on the reopening of Nato supplies or other related matters, and that the final decision would be taken in the light of the redrafted PNSC recommendations. He further said that they would not let anyone use the platform of the parliament to fig-leaf the weaknesses of the rulers.