The Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS)refused to get briefing on the current law and order and state of Pakistan-US relations and post withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan situation from the top strategic institution at GHQ.
It’s a really bold move and we hope it will take us towards parliamentary sovereignty, which will make parliament the supreme legal authority in the Pakistan.
So the time is now appropriate to do something more concrete to shift real power from GHQ to elected representatives of the Pakistani people. This awakening and recognition of parliamentarians rights help a psyche in many concrete ways, and is also a positive step towards promoting a democratic culture.
Here’s the detail news:
NA committee snubs army’s invitation
By Kamran Yousaf
A parliamentary committee on national security refused to attend an army briefing at General Headquarters (GHQ) this week on the current security situation and Pakistan-US relations.
The move is seen as an attempt by the panel to assert the supremacy of parliament on security issues, which otherwise are believed to be handled by the country’s powerful military establishment.
The head of the 17-member panel said the committee decided unanimously not to attend the briefing because “it would be in violation of its traditions.”
The committee set aside its original agenda of a discussion on the Pakistan-US diplomatic row to consider the invitation of the army, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani told reporters after the meeting.
“We have decided to continue following the tradition of holding meetings at the Parliament House as no one is supreme to parliament,” Rabbani said.
However, the committee chairman tried to downplay the controversy by saying the army and the ISI always briefed the panel when requested.
The committee on national security was one of four parliamentary panels which were invited by GHQ on Thursday for a briefing behind closed doors. Committees on defence, defence production and foreign affairs had already accepted the invitation and when asked about their decision, Rabbani said he could not speak on their behalf.
Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General ISI Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, among other senior officials, are expected to brief the committees.
Military officials were not available for reaction on the national security committee’s move to stay away from the briefing.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2011.