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Senate body briefed by Ministry of Defence

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Senate Committee on Defence and National Security met at the Parliament House on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and received a comprehensive briefing from the Ministry of Defence, which lasted for almost 3 hours.

In his opening remarks, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and other members of the Committee offered Fateha for the soldiers, civilians and officers, who have laid down their lives in defence of the motherland. He also paid tributes to his predecessor, Senator Walid Iqbal, for his positive role.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that the Committee on Defence and National Security would function above party lines with a national perspective that seeks to preserve, protect and promote Pakistan’s defence and national security while also acting as a bridge between khaki and mufti in promoting intra-institutional harmony.

The Senator underlined that in these challenging times, issues on defence and national security require a “whole of nation” approach since the role of the armed forces, the government, parliament, people, media and political parties is inextricably intertwined to achieve common national goals on defence and national security.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also underlined that in Pakistan’s transition from geo-politics to geo-economics, the notion of national security can no longer be confined to military components alone like tanks, planes or military equipment, but it has to be based on the notion of Human security that make people as the pivot of defence and national security incorporating such areas as economy, health, population planning, climate change, food and water scarcity.

On related issues, the Committee also underlined the need that the 2% disability quota be fully implemented in the Ministry of Defence in letter and spirit, with the Secretary Defence committing to comply with this direction.

Senator Mushahid Hussain conveyed the sense of the committee to the Ministry of Defence that in future, the Minister of Defence should also be present during meetings of the Committee.

The meeting received a detailed briefing on the working of the three services and the functions of the Ministry of Defence and in this regard, the members of the committee had a proactive participation in the hour long question & answer session.

Unanimously adopting the Work Plan for 2021, the Committee underlined that it will work closely with the Ministry of Defence to ensure the implementation of the 14-point work plan which include detailed briefings on the three services as well as briefing on intelligence and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, visits to Siachen, Waziristan and the Line of Control (LoC) for solidarity with our soldiers, briefing on CPEC security, visits to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) and other military hospitals to express sympathy with those wounded during counter-terror operations as well as a special visit to the graves of Nishan-e-Haider martyrs on September 6, the Defence of Pakistan day.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed presented a copy of the terms of engagements which the parliament of Pakistan had unanimously approved on April 12, 2012 pursuant to the report of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security which was then headed by Senator Raza Rabbani and of which Senator Mushahid Hussain was also a member and they both helped in drafting those recommendations which were later unanimously adopted by parliament.

After adopting it, the Senate Defence Committee referred it to the Ministry of Defence with the direction that on the issue of bases, foreign ‘boots on the ground’, foreign intelligence operations on Pakistani territory, that all of these are forbidden under the parliament’s directive and this document is to be considered as Pakistan’s state policy guidelines for the future on such issues.

The meeting was attended by Senators Faisal Javed, Mushtaq Ahmad, Hidayatullah, Walid Iqbal, Engineer Rukhsana Zuberi, Dr. Zarqa Suharwardi Taimur and Palwasha Khan and Secretary of the Committee Major (retd) Husnain Haider.

The Ministry of Defence was represented by the Secretary Defence Lt General (retd) Mian Hilal Hussain, the Additional Secretary Major General Khurram Nawaz Khan and the Additional Secretary AVM Kazim Hammad.

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