Hue and cry in NA over PM’s remarks in Iran

Khurram Dastagir say no prime minister has ever made such confession on foreign soil; Hina Rabbani says we worried for country after seeing it continually become a laughing stock


Tariq Virk
The National Assembly session on Tuesday began with blistering criticism of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement in Iran in which the premier conceded that Pakistani soil had been used in the past by terrorists to carry out attacks in Iran.
The rumpus started when PML-N MNA Khurram Dastagir Khan drew the attention of the house towards the reported statement of the prime minister regarding the use of Pakistan’s soil against Iran.
“No prime minister has ever made such a confession on foreign soil,” Dastagir said, adding that only a day earlier, “the foreign minister had stated that terrorists had entered from Iran to carry out activities in Balochistan. He said the IMF has already linked the bailout package for Islamabad with the findings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). “Pakistan is exposed internationally by such statements,” the PML-N lawmaker said. He also accused the prime minister of having said previously that the Pakistani military had created militants. The prime minister has committed diplomatic blunders,” the PML-N leader alleged.
PPP MNA Hina Rabbani Khar, who has previously served as the country’s foreign minister, was unforgiving in her criticism of Prime Minister Imran’s statements. “We are worried for the country after seeing it continually become a laughing stock,” she said. “This is not funny anymore. You cannot play with the destiny of this country anymore.” “You cannot make these stupid statements and expect us to stand behind you,” Khar said.
Addressing the house, Human Rights Minister Mazari said the opposition had quoted only one part of the premier’s statement. She said that after acknowledging that Pakistan’s soil had been used for terrorist activities in Iran in the past, the prime minister had clearly stated that terrorists had recently come from Iran to carry out attacks in Balochistan.
She stressed that the PM had stated that both Pakistan and Iran will have to take action against banned organisations operating in their bordering regions.
She also dismissed criticism on PM Imran’s statement erroneously stating that Japan and Germany as neighbours, saying it had been a “slip of the tongue” and that he had intended to mean France and Germany. But Khar remained unconvinced, saying while the minister had termed Imran’s statement about Germany and Japan a slip of the tongue, the premier had talked about it in detail.
Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri then gave the floor to Communication Minister Murad Saeed, but the opposition members took the opportunity to start protesting loudly. They demanded that instead of Saeed, the prime minister should himself come to the parliament to make a statement.
The opposition gathered in front of the speaker’s dais when he allowed the minister to continue. They kept shouting “no baby no” as a way of mocking Saeed, and “go Niazi go” in reference to the prime minister throughout Saeed’s address. Saeed in particular targeted PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in his speech, which could not be heard clearly in the galleries due to the opposition’s noisy protest.
“It is shameful that the young PPP chairman was using poisonous language against his own country at a time when our jets were responding to Indian aggression,” Saeed said, adding the remark that Bilawal had become his party’s chairman “accidentally”. “You appointed Hussain Haqqani as ambassador to the US. Even today, he is making statements against the country,” he said, addressing the PPP leadership.
On the other hand National Assembly was informed that no load-shedding is being carried out on eighty percent feeders across the country. Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Fazal Muhammad Khan, Minister for Power Omer Ayub said that out of 8610 total feeders, no load management is being carried out on 6610 feeders.
Omer Ayub said the government has initiated a drive to improve recoveries and check power theft. As a result of this drive, line losses have been reduced by 2.4 percent across the country whilst recoveries witnessed an increase of 1.3 percent over the last four months. He said over twenty seven thousand FIRs have been registered against the people involved in power pilferage. Of these, about 4400 people have also been sent behind bars. He said we have also taken action against the staff of WAPDA and terminated over 450 officials for being hand in glove with the power pilferage.
Responding to another calling attention notice regarding recent increase in the prices of petroleum products, Omer Ayub said that our mission is to provide relief to the masses. This is the reason that we did not fully pass on the increase recommended by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). He said unlike the previous government, we have reduced taxes on petroleum products in order to shield the consumers from the increase in oil prices in the international markets.