Sartaj to brief Senate on Saudi military alliance today

ISLAMABAD: Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz will brief the Upper House of Parliament on Wednesday (today) on the contentious issue of Saudi Arabia-led military alliance and Pakistan’s possible role in it.

Government’s apparent reluctance to divulge details about the Saudi-led military alliance had irked Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani who served notices on the ministers and the secretaries of defence and foreign affairs to appear in the House and satisfy the members on the issue.

The issue came to limelight when the house took up a calling-attention notice from Farhatullah Babar of the PPP, seeking government’s response on reported statements from the Saudi authorities that the Islamic Military Alliance would not only be restricted to terrorist organisations like Da’ish and al Qaeda but it would also act against any rebel groups posing threat to any member country.

Senator Babar had submitted the notice on April 25. But the ministries of foreign affairs and defence kept shifting to each other the responsibility of responding to the notice all this while.

During Tuesday’s proceedings, in-charge ministers of both the ministries were missing which prompted a strong reaction by the chair. He summoned the secretaries of both the ministries before the privilege committee and castigated the ministers sitting in the front row over government’s adamant attitude.

“Do not make parliament ping-pong. I will not tolerate it. This notice was submitted in the Senate secretariat on April 25. It was sent to the Ministry of Defence on May 2 and they informed us yesterday that the matter does not come under their domain. The Foreign Ministry on the other hand [is] saying it is [for] the Ministry of Defence to explain,” remarked a perturbed Rabbani.

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