Senators condemn the government, demanding clarity about TTP negotiations

(Left to right) Minister of Law, Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, SE Senator Mushtaq Ahmed and PPP Senator Raza Rabbani address the Senate in Islamabad, June 23, 2022 – YouTube / PTVParliament

ISLAMABAD: Members of the Upper House of Parliament have criticized the government for negotiating with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and asked for clarity in that regard.

Institutions that neglect the country’s national security reported an important meeting the day before in the Prime Minister’s Office, in the presence of senior political leadership.

After the meeting, the Office of the Prime Minister announced that all negotiations with TTP would be conducted in accordance with the Constitution, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah assured that a closed session of parliament would be convened to convince MPs of decisions related to national security.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said at today’s Senate session that a session on negotiations with the TTP was held yesterday in the Prime Minister’s Office, at which representatives of certain political parties were present, but not all of them were invited.

“This session makes decisions related to talks with TTP. So there needs to be clarity and the House needs to be informed about what committee meeting it was? ” asked Senator Ahmed.

The senator said that if it is a session of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) then he is its member and was not invited to the session.

“Was this a session of the parliamentary committee? If not, what is Parliament’s position on this issue? ” wondered Senator SE.

Senator Ahmed added that the government had said it would report to Parliament on the negotiations. “It simply came to our notice then [state] do they finalize it themselves? “

The senator attacked the government and asked if the Parliament was just a “seal”.

‘surprised’

For his part, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani, whose party is a major stakeholder in the coalition government, said Parliament is “always used as a rubber stamp”.

“It will not benefit from presenting the TTP agreement before Parliament if the government finalizes it because the agreement cannot be amended subsequently,” the former Senate president said.

Rabbani said an indoor session of parliament should be convened to inform lawmakers about the terms of negotiations with the TTP.

“I am surprised that we can talk to TTP, but production orders for Ali Wazir, a member of parliament, have not been able to be issued so far despite several requests,” Rabbani added.

Involvement in parliament

In response, Azam Nazeer Tarar, who is the Minister of Law and a member of the PML-N, who is the largest stakeholder in the government, said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has made it clear that the negotiations will be in line with the Constitution.

“Talks with the TTP will be held in consultation with Parliament and Parliament will be part of that,” he said.

Speaking on the first floor of the house, PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said negotiations with the TTP did not begin two and a half months ago, but were launched during the term of the previous government.

The senator noted that the deputies did not know when the negotiations started and between when they were conducted.

“Are the negotiations taking place elsewhere or are they taking place within the country? We didn’t know that either, but now the details are gradually being revealed. “

“Negotiations should not be kept secret because we are not in favor of that. That is not our policy, “he added.

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