By Ali Hussain
ISLAMABAD: The country's top military officials will brief the parliamentarians on "current issues of the national security" on Monday at the National Assembly hall - a third such in-camera session to the lawmakers in which the overall security situation, including the ongoing talks with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), and the latest situation in Afghanistan would be discussed.
The National Assembly sitting on Friday adopted a motion in this regard moved by Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem under rule 288 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007 that the requirement of rule 290 of the said rules be dispensed with in order to allow the use of Chamber of the National Assembly on November 8, 2021 for a briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security.
According to the agenda set for the Monday meeting, 85 lawmakers both from the Senate and the National Assembly, including chief ministers of the four provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and prime minister and president Azad Jammu and Kashmir, have been invited to attend the in-camera session.
Prominent among those invited included Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader Asad Mahmood, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-Mengal) leader Sardar Akhtar Mengal, leader of the opposition in Senate Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, leader of the house in Senate Shahzad Waseem, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, JUI-F senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, National Security Adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf, Adviser on Finance Shaukat Tarin, and others.
There has been no mention of Prime Minister Imran Khan's name in the list of the invitees, who has also skipped previous such meetings, which triggered criticism from the opposition.
Opposition has been demanding the prime minister's presence in such high-profile meetings on the national security.
The lawmakers are expected to raise questions on the ongoing dialogue with the proscribed TTP in Afghanistan, besides the government's recent agreement with the banned Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) during the question-answer session.
This article first appeared in Business Recorder on 6 Nov 2021.