ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties in the Lower House of parliament sought an explicit response from the government on the fate of dialogue with Taliban militants, and called upon it to take political ownership of the military operation if it is planning such a move.
The opposition also questioned what it said was a U-turn on foreign policy after media reports emerged that Pakistan was to provide weapons to Syrian rebels on behest of Saudi Arabia. The government tried to defend the dialogue with Taliban. Zahid Hamid, minister for Science and Technology, called the opposition’s objections speculation, infuriating it. Opposition member Sheikh Rasheed went for a boycott of the session against what he called was non-seriousness of the government on taking parliament into confidence.
Opposition Leader Syed Khursheed Shah demanded the government tell the nation what is going on after dialogue failed to bring the militants on table. Shah opined that this issue is so important for the country that the nation has forgotten the problems of expensive electricity and inflation and wants end to terrorism. He called upon the prime minister to act like a leader and take the final decision, as the opposition would stand with him.
Shah was, however, vocal on Syria issue and reported supply of Pakistani weapons to Syrian rebels. “It is a matter of grave concern. The government has taken a U-turn without taking parliament into confidence,” he said. Shah asked the government to explain what were the grounds on which Pakistan made such a change in foreign policy.
He said that if this U-turn has been taken then it would be intervention in another country. “It seems we haven’t learnt the lesson from the past when we interfered in Afghanistan, whose brunt were are bearing until now,” the opposition leader stated.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI)’s Deputy Parliamentary Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi was critical of the government when he sought an explanation whether it had allowed strategic strikes in the tribal areas on its own or at someone’s behest. “The government is giving the impression that nothing has happened and if so then who is carrying out aerial strikes in the tribal areas?” Qureshi questioned. He said that the government is still in confusion as to what to do.
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