94pc of legislators kept quiet during debate on US ties: report
ISLAMABAD: During the joint session of parliament which continued from March 20 to April 12, 94 per cent of the parliamentarians did not participate in the debate on the recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security about the relations with the US.
Only 28 of the 445 legislators in the National Assembly and Senate debated on the PCNS recommendations for a total of 338 minutes.
This constituted 25 per cent of the total session time of 22 hours and 22 minutes.
Only four per cent of the 341 MNAs and only 13 per cent of the 104 Senators spoke on the ties with the US.
The PCNS was formed in the wake of a Nato attack on the Salala checkpost that killed 24 troops in November last year. It has been mentioned in a report, released by the Free and Fair Election Network on Friday.
The report said the longest joint session in Pakistan’s parliamentary history unanimously approved the new recommendations on relations with the US and general foreign policy.
However, the debate showed the parliamentarians were reluctant to share their thoughts on resetting the ties, which included issues of opening land supply lines for Nato troops in Afghanistan and the drone strikes in Pakistan.
With only one-fourth of the session time being consumed for actually discussing the PCNS report, the rest of the time was taken up to discuss target killings in Karachi and Balochistan, sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan, increase in prices of petroleum products and power outages and a string of other issues.
Although the opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (Fazl) rejected the first draft of the recommendations, their legislators were conspicuous by their absence during the debate.
Three PML-N Senators and two MNAs took part in the debate. The party has 104 legislators in the two houses of the parliament.
The report mentioned that one parliamentarian each from the Awami National Party, JUI-F, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Party (MMAP) and the Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) took part in the debate.
Similarly, 32 Muttahida Qaumi Movement legislators in the two houses and 12 Independents in the Senate stayed away from the debate.