Politicians disapprove 50-member delegation to India | Pakistan Today

Politicians disapprove 50-member delegation to India

ISLAMABAD – Politicians from across the political divide expressed disapproval on Wednesday of the 50-member delegation led by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani to watch the Pakistan-India Cricket World Cup semi-final using public money.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) Finance Secretary Imtyaz Ranjha told Pakistan Today that taking along such a huge delegation to watch a cricket match at the taxpayers’ expense reflected the non-seriousness of the prime minister.
“The statements of the Pakistani and Indian prime ministers have revealed that this visit was aimed at watching cricket rather than cricket diplomacy. I think if India had invited Gilani for talks, he could have afforded to take along such a huge delegation,” he said. He said the visit looked like Gilani was bribing the politicians in the name of “cricket diplomacy”.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl Information Secretary Maulana Amjad Khan said the prime minister had taken a 50-member delegation to India “just for a photo session” which reflected his lack of seriousness. “The Indian prime minister has not invited Gilani and company to hold talks, rather the Pakistani premier was invited to watch cricket. It would have been better for both countries to hold a real dialogue on all issues hurting bilateral relations, including the Kashmir dispute,” he added.
PML-Nawaz spokesman Asim Khan said in a personal capacity that he thought going India with such a huge delegation was not prudent on the part of the prime minister. “In my personal opinion, when you have been invited only to watch a cricket match, one should not burden further the national exchequer of a country that is already starving because of a financial crunch and has to beg for foreign aid to run its everyday business,” he said.
Asim said if the prime minister just wanted to join in the festivities of cricket-lovers, he should have taken along other members of parliament on their personal expense. Senator Pervaiz Rashid of the PML-N, who is also spokesman for the Punjab government, said he did not know who had been included in the prime minister’s delegation from the PML-N.
Senator Professor Khurshid Ahmed of the Jamaat-e-Islami said rather than creating cricket hype among the people, the prime minister should have focused on substantial issues facing the country. Central leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Omar Sarfaraz Cheema said there was no rationale in taking such a huge delegation to India to see a cricket match.
“It is a totally absurd thing and will not serve the national cause in any way,” he added. The opposition parties are considering to raise a question in both houses of parliament to ask the prime minister why did he take a big delegation at the expense of tax payers’ money and what was the criterion for selecting the delegates for this trip.
Gilani reached India on a day-long visit to attend the two cricket teams’ semi-final clash in Mohali. He is accompanied by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan, Postal Services Minister Sardar Alhaj Omar Gorage, Religious Affairs Minister Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah, States and Frontier Regions Minister Shaukatullah, Foreign Affairs Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Privatisation Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Awami National Party leader Asfandyar Wali, Lt Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch of the PML-N,
Dr Farooq Sattar of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Laeeq Ahmad Khan of the JUI-F, Munir Orakzai from FATA, Riaz Hussain Pirzada from the PML-Q, Parliamentary Secretary for Sports Dr Lal Chand, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Qamar Zaman Kaira, MNA Sherry Rehman, Khawaja Sohail Mansoor, Ahmad Mujataba Gilani and Sharmila Farooqi.

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