On Tuesday, in the middle of the opposition boycott, a critical meeting of parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly and Senate called by NA Speaker Asad Qaiser for Wednesday (tomorrow) to be briefed by “intelligence officials on emerging national security issues” was cancelled.
“The National Assembly and Senate parliamentary leaders’ session under National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on Nov 11 [was] postponed,” the NA Secretariat said in a tweet for opposition.
اسپیکر قومی اسمبلی اسد قیصر کی زیرِ صدارت قومی اسمبلی اور سینیٹ میں پارلیمانی رہنماؤں کا مورخہ 11 نومبر کو ہونے والا اجلاس ملتوی.
اجلاس میں قومی سلامتی کے امور پر بریفنگ ہونی تھی۔
قومی اسمبلی سیکرٹیریٹ نے اجلاس کے ملتوی ہونے کا نوٹس جاری کر دیا ہے@RadioPakistan @appcsocialmedia
— National Assembly of Pakistan (@NAofPakistan) November 10, 2020
“The conference will have been a briefing on national security. The notice of postponement of the session was issued by the NA Secretariat.”
Dawn was previously told by government sources that the key goal of the briefing was to make an attempt to establish a national consensus on awarding strategically positioned Gilgit-Baltistan “provisional provincial status.”
Read Also: Wheat mishandling costs kitty Rs105 billion
While there was no formal confirmation from the government or the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) of the army, the sources said it was anticipated that the briefing would be performed by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Head of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.
The government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, led by the PML-N, had some reservations about the decision to award the province’s provisional status to GB, the sources said, adding that attempts would be made to resolve their concerns at the conference.
The names of AJK President Masood Khan, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider, GB Governor Raja Jalal Maqpoon and GB Caretaker Chief Minister Mir Afzal were also included on the list of those invited to the briefing.
A day earlier, the two main opposition parties in the region, the PML-N and the PPP, said they had not yet agreed to engage in the briefing, indicating a potential boycott of the gathering.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) information secretary, a coalition of 11 opposition parties, declared the decision of the PDM not to participate in the NA speaker’s session.
He said that the decision had been taken by PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman after meeting all the parties that are part of the alliance. “The government has absolutely struggled to contain inflation and the people’s issues. The inability of the government has been a serious threat to national security on every front,” the statement said.
The speaker has failed, according to law and legislative traditions, to execute the National Assembly. The NA speaker constantly suppresses the voice of the opposition. Although breaching the Constitution, the operations of the state are being run. In these cases, no substantive debate can be held, ”it said.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Senator Sherry Rehman, Khawaja Asif and Mushahidullah Khan of the PML-N, Balochistan National Party President Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini of the PPP, Jamaat-i-Islamic Chief Sirajul Haq, Amir Haider Hoti and Sitara Ayaz of the Awami National Party, Asad Mahmood and Maulana Abdul Gha
After the opposition parties declared that they would not become part of any parliamentary committee under him over his alleged biassed actions during the joint sitting of parliament on September 16, the NA speaker had to postpone the parliamentary leaders’ conference he had scheduled on September 28 for the forthcoming GB elections.
The opposition parties have condemned the decision by Qaiser to convene the conference, arguing that the speaker and the federal government had no involvement in the GB Legislative Assembly elections.
This was not the first time that such a briefing on the GB issue was conducted for parliamentary leaders and a previous such meeting had stirred political uproar when Minister of Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed announced that in their speeches, on the one hand, the opposition leaders were threatening the army and, on the other hand, they had held classified meetings with the military leadership.