Senate concerned over change in policy on Syria



ISLAMABAD: The senators on Monday expressed serious reservations over the unofficial change in Pakistan’s foreign policy on Syria, and increasing friends in the Gulf countries at the cost of neighbouring Iran.
The Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday welcomed strengthened friendship with Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and also appreciated the farmer financial assistance to Pakistan. Unofficially support to Syrian rebel by Pakistan has serious repercussion as the country already seen in case of Afghanistan. Senator Farhatullah Baber was of the view it was also reported that Pakistan unofficially has sent Taliban and missionaries to Syria. He also questioned purpose of the meeting of Bahrain King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa to Joint Services Headquarters.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed said initially visit of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, then Bahrain King and later incident on Pak-Iran Border all happening reveals some suspicious in mind of people. Pakistan has increasing friendship with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain but losing old friend Iran. Pakistan has a number of internal issues and should avoid involving in affairs of other countries, like Syria. He also claimed that Iran officially registered complaint against Pakistan over its missing guard on Pak-Iran border. He said Pakistani neighbors India and Afghanistan already complaint against Pakistan at UN while two others (Iran and China) should not be annoyed to go there. PPP Senator Sehar Kamran claimed that Pakistan’s foreign policy is not transparent.
Additionally secretary foreign affairs Naela Chohan said Pakistan categorically said it has no intention to sent forces abroad to any country. She also informed the committee that there are about 10000 Pakistani retired forces working in Bahrain and the King meeting with Pakistan top army officials only in this regard, nothing else. The Bahrain King requested for meeting with Joint Chief Office and PM Nawaz Sharif also accompanied him. She also informed the committee that Pakistan is also going on to sign Free Trade Agreement with Gulf Cooperating Countries, that is why held meeting with top officials of the two countries in recent past. 
Pakistan Spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told the committee that the PM and the government clearly stated that there is no intention to sent troops to Syria/Bahrain. She also clarified that Iran never lodged any complaint against Pakistan at UN forum over its missing guard on the border. Senator Raja Zafarul Haq said why questions raised when some foreign dignitary visit to Pakistan or some one refuse to come in Pakistan. These are sensitive issues and be careful while discussing such matters. Pakistan has good relation with Iran and should not be hurt at any cost. He advised the committee don’t discuss such matters, which may hurt country’s national interest.
The committee also expressed serious reservation over not allowing parliamentarians to go abroad through different excuses. They raised the issue of MNA Sheikh Rashid visit to Canada, and PPP Senator Jehangir Bader to UAE and said not allowing them directly meant insult of the parliament. The government should take the matters seriously and it should be reciprocally. Foreign ministry informed the committee that the Sheikh Rashid name was removed in ban list, now he can move freely. Chairman of the committee Haji Mohammad Adeel said it is a serious matters and a sub-committee will be formed under convener ship of Raja Zafarul Haq, while Mushad Hussain Syed and Tahir Hussain Mashhadi will be its members. The committee will find details why parliamentarians not allowing to go abroad in some cases. Chairman of the committee also asked the ministry of foreign affairs why a junior official was made as Ambassador in Russia particularly the new crises of Ukraine. 

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