ISLAMABAD: A senator belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government is pursuing a flawed foreign policy which could affect Pakistan’s relations with its time-tested friendly countries and harm its interests.
Saadia Abbasi, who is the sister of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, said in the Senate on Friday that China, Saudi Arabia and Qatar had always stood by Pakistan in the hour of need. She accused the PTI government of making the country’s relations with these friendly countries controversial because of its animosity towards the PML-N.
Ms Abbasi was of the view that the incumbent government had no idea how to run the country’s foreign policy. She noted that international agreements and talks were of sensitive nature and required maturity.
Talking about the recent visit of Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to China, she said the PTI government seemed weak while shaping the foreign policy. She said the chief army visited China following a controversial statement about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by a member of the federal cabinet, adding that now Gen Bajwa was in Jordan to sign a defence deal. “Where is the defence minister?” she questioned.
Senator Saadia Abbasi claims PTI lacks skills required for international agreements and talks
The Senate adopted a motion, authorising the Senate chairman to nominate 10 members for the parliamentary committee formed to investigate allegations of rigging in the July general elections.
According to the motion moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, the committee would have 10 senators — five each from the treasury and opposition benches.
Responding to a calling attention notice, the minister informed the house that a total of 7,410 overseas Pakistanis had registered themselves to avail the option of online voting for by-polls to be held in 37 constituencies of national and provincial assembles on Oct 14.
Action against students
Thursday’s police action against some students of Peshawar University who were protesting against hike in admission and hostel fees echoed in the Senate as the opposition members termed it the worst form of state terrorism. However, some treasury members defended the police action and termed it inevitable.
The opposition members said the so-called model police of Peshawar had used force against innocent students who were protesting against hike in fees, adding that action had broken all records of military regimes.
They said instead of trying to justify the police action against students, the government should be ashamed of what had happened with them.
The minister claimed that some political parties were using student unions for their political gains, adding that the government would not allow the use of students for politics.
In response to demands made by some opposition members that the matter should be sent to the standing committee concerned so that investigation into it could be conducted, he said the police action against students was a provincial matter and investigation into it by a parliamentary committee would be tantamount to infringement on the rights of a province.
The Ministry of Water Resources said in a written reply that the Diamer-Bhasha dam project had been pending for a long time and work on it could not be started due to non-availability of finances from donor agencies.
The original PC-I amounting to Rs894.257 billion was approved by Ecnec (Executive Committee of the National Economic Council) on Aug 20, 2009, according to which the project was to be completed by June 2020. However, as per the new financing strategy, PC-I (Dam Part) amounting to Rs474bn has been approved by Ecnec on April 17, 2018, according to which project is to be completed by June 2027.