MPs want NATO supply linked to drone attacks
* PML-Q proposes only those containers be allowed that carry foodstuff, with complete ban on transit of weapons
By Tanveer Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers on Friday pressed the government to link restoration of supply to NATO troops to drone attacks.
During a joint parliamentary session to discuss recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS), they also urged the United States to stop drone attacks and respect Pakistan’s sovereignty. Most of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmakers remained absent.
PML-Quaid Secretary General Senator Mushahid Hussain said that all decisions regarding national security should be taken by parliament. Hussain said, “Now we have an opportunity and the time has come to take all decisions regarding our foreign policy, national security and NATO supplies.” He deplored that the opposition members were not seriously taking part in the debate.
“When their members signed the report in the committee, so why are they running away from parliament to discuss this issue,” he said.
Hussain said that drone attacks should not be allowed at any cost. About supply to NATO forces, he categorically said that supply of ammunitions through NATO containers should be strictly banned. He proposed that Pakistan should allow only containers carrying food and other things of this sort by disbanding the transit of weapons. “Permitting weaponry in the NATO supplies means that we want to keep the conflict in Afghanistan continued,” he noted. Commending the PCNS recommendations, Hussain said that the committee had come up with the best recommendations to redefine ties with the US.
“This is for the first time that USA has taken Pakistani parliament seriously after 9/11. President Obama also suggested that they are waiting for Pakistani parliament’s decision,” he added.
Pakistan People’s Party legislator Akhunzada Chattan said that new foreign policy should be judged in the backdrop of drone attacks.
He also said the PCNS had finalised its recommendation after a lengthy deliberation and it was a very sensitive matter, which should not be used for political mileage.
“Why was NATO supply not stopped for even a day in past when those who are opposing it now were in power in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa,” he questioned. Senator Sehar Kamran said all decisions regarding foreign policy and future engagements with the US and NATO should reflect will of the people. Abdul Malik, lawmaker from Federally Administered Tribal Areas, said all political parties and parliamentarians should show unity and consensus on this important issue.
n PCNS agrees to link NATO supply to end of drone strikes —Page A4