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Sovereignty of Parliament

Chairman of the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday expressed his anger at the lack of a response from the government regarding the Saudi Arabia-led 41-nation military alliance headed by former army chief (Retd) Gen Raheel Sharif.
According to chairman Senate despite raising concerns by the opposition government seems in no mood to redress the concerns of political parties regarding the subject of joining military alliance. After failure on the part of both the Defence and Foreign ministries to respond to the Opposition’s questions on the country’s participation in the Islamic Military Alliance, Raza Rabbani lost his patience and said that if government keeps its apathy towards Parliament then Parliament should be shut down. He said that numbers of attempts were made to draw attention to the issue but government did not elicit any response.
Opposition has rightly raised questions on the terms of operations of the military alliance. Ministers of incumbent government has reiterated at various platforms that objective of the alliance is to tackle terrorism and extremism. But in the recent summit in Saudi Arabia, President of United States Donald Trump and Saudi King both lamented Iran for spreading terror in the region. Before this moot, government clarified that Pakistan’s participation would be limited to fighting religious extremism and it would not target any country. But after stance of US and Saudi Arabia against Iran, there is dire need to clarify stance of Pakistan and government needs to answer concerns of opposition.
Pakistan has not only agreed in principal to be part of the anti-terror alliance that excludes Iran but also has approved its former Army Chief’s appointment to lead the military alliance. In such a scenario, people of Pakistan and importantly Parliamentarians must be provided with certain information regarding Pakistan’s role in the alliance along with terms of references of the alliance.
It is a vital issue and indeed government needs to take all the political parties onboard before taking any final decision. But sadly government has put a deaf ear to redress concerns. It is not the first high-profile issue that the current government has decided on at forums other than Parliament. Keeping the importance of sovereignty of Parliament in view, government should address the issue in Parliament with a clear cut response on Pakistan’s participation in the Alliance.
Keeping in view sovereignty of Parliament government must address high-profile issues in the Parliament.

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