ISLAMABAD - Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday ruled that no information could be withheld from the Parliament after the government conveyed to the Upper House that army did not want to make public details of its losses occurred as a result of firing by Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC).

The remarks of the Senate chairman came after State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali speaking on behalf of the defence minister said that the army did not want to make public its losses in terms of human fatalities as a result of firing on the LoC by the Indian forces.

“This is because that the army did not want to show the enemy about how many of our soldiers have been martyred,” Abid Sher Ali said. However, he said that a request had been sent to the General Headquarters (GHQ) to provide the exact details and the reply was expected today (Tuesday).

The state minister was responding to a call-attention notice of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Senator Atteeq Sheikh. While sharing the details of civilian losses, he said that 66 innocent people were martyred and 228 injured in such incidents but did not give the exact time period of these losses.

“I am no ready to accept that any information can be withheld from the Parliament, either be it regarding the security apparatus or something else,” the Senate chairman said. “This call attention notice will remain pending and the information has to be brought before the Parliament. Either this information could be shared in an in-camera session or the same could be shared in my chamber for the onward reading of the senators,” Rabbani said adding that he had given two options to the government to share the details of the casualties of the army.

Separately, the lawmakers taking part in the discussion on an adjournment motion regarding the incident of firing by the Afghan security forces on a Pakistani census team inside residential areas of Pakistan near Chaman border said that the closure of Pak-Afghan border was not a solution to the problem. They said that Pakistan had a 2600-kilometre porous border with Afghanistan and terrorists could infiltrate into Pakistan from any point. So the closure of the border would not be a solution to the problem, they argued.

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said that he was disappointed at the response of Pakistan over such firing incidents as there was no justification for the closure of the border. “The root cause of the problem was the wrong policies of the US in the past and Pakistan remained part of these policies. The problem is due to the wrong the US policies; Pakistan’s failed policies and the Indian factor,” he said.

Hussain said that the US policies had double standards and these were ambiguous in nature. “As a result of these policies, the US has made Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord, a part of Kabul government but was not ready to talk to the Taliban and the Haqqani network. Unfortunately, we have fought the so-called Jihad with US dollars,” he said.

“Any foreign policy of a country springs from neighbours,” he said calling the behaviour of Pakistan childish. “A reprehensible language was used by Pakistan for neighbouring Afghanistan. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past, as the jingoism is not a solution to the situation,” he said.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Senator Hafiz Hamdullah remarked that the reason being described for the closure of border was that the spies of Indian intelligence agency RAW and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security enter through the border points and the logic was wrong. “Pakistan has a long border with Afghanistan and the spies could infiltrate from any point,” he insisted.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker Noman Wazir Khattak said that the government should take a serious notice of the firing incidents from the Afghanistan side and take action. MQM legislator Tahir Mashhadi said that Pakistan was facing a hostility from three out of four neighbours including Indian, Iran and Afghanistan due to the weak foreign policy.

Pakistan People’s Party Senator Taj Haider said that there were no military solutions to the problems as well as no justification of wars. He said that the closure of border was not a solution to the problem and there was no need to open firing from any side.

Abid Sher Ali responding to another call-attention notice said that the federal government was not providing a reduced amount of electricity to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) as allocated by the National Power Control Center rather the province was not ready to get the allocated quota due to the weak transmission system. “There is a need to establish new grid stations of 220 KV each in Chakdara, Mansehra and Nowshera but the KP government did not provide land to the federal government during the last four years,” he said. “But the land was provided a month earlier,” he said adding that some power distribution companies did not get the required electricity due to theft and recovery problems.

“In the past, because of a wrong agreement, K-Electric laundered the looted money abroad and it owes Rs27 billion to the federal government,” he said challenging that the figures provided by the mover of the notice should be scrutinised through a standing committee as they were wrong.

Earlier, Noman Khatak, the mover of the notice, said that the federal government was providing electricity to Punjab more than its allocated quota while KP was being provided less than its allocated quota.

The chair referred the matter to the committee concerned and sought a report within 45 days.

Senator Hari Ram taking part in the budget debate remarked that it was unfair that the ruling PML-N was distributing development funds worth Rs200 million to each MNAs of the party. Kasloom Parveen demanded that senators belonging to Balochistan should also be given development funds due to the low number of seats for the province in the National Assembly. JUI-F Senator Hafiz Hamdullah pointed out what was the constitution position of the finance bill in the wake of government’s reluctance to announce the next National Finance Commission Award. He deplored that 46 percent budget of KP had lapsed and also pointed out that the PTI provincial government had failed to bring reforms to the education sector. He said that Rs33 billion of the Balochistan government had also lapsed and 25,000 jobs had been abolished in the province. “What is left in the budget for the common man when Rs1,363 billion would be consumed for payment of interests, Rs800 billion for loans, Rs1400 billion for the budget deficit and Rs920 billion for defence,” he questioned.