PML-N govt supporting US war on terror: Mushahid


An otherwise lackluster session of the Upper House of parliament on Monday returned lively with the members of the opposition benches reiterating their demands to the PML-N government to frame national strategies to counter terrorism and cyber war against Pakistani people waged by the US government and urging the government to bring the security establishment under the “civilian command” and under the “ambit of the law”.

The House also had a brief debate over the Federal Budget 2013-14 and the members from the treasury and opposition members came up with their proposals to improve the finance bill.

It was Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who dropped a bombshell by claiming that after coming into power, the PML-N had decided to support the US war against terrorism – a policy the PML-N had been opposing during the past 13 years.

He said though the PML-N had opposed the past governments’ policy of engagement with the US in the war on terror, but after coming to power they took a u-turn and were now supporting the same cause.

“The PML-N has mentioned $1.2 billion under the coalition support fund (CSF). Accepting this amount is evidence that the (PML-N) government has assured the US of its cooperation in the war on terror,” he said.

The PML-Q secretary-general termed the budget “anti-people which reflected the government’s policies of the status-quo”.

He also outlined his six-point proposals for the finance minister, stating that a special fund should be set up for the victims of drone strikes and money should be allocated in the budget for the drone strikes-affected families and the injured.

Mushahid said special funds should also be allocated in the budget under a programme to provide life insurance to working journalists, who he said were working in difficult conditions.

“Rather than giving the FBR access to online accounts of bank account-holders, the FBR should be given access to the Swiss accounts and off-shore bank accounts in which ill-gotten money had been kept abroad in Switzerland and elsewhere.”

Mushahid said Pakistani internet and phone users were a victim of the cyber aggression of the US which had launched a surveillance programme under the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor all email and phone communications of Pakistanis while their email accounts were being hacked.

He said a cyber strategy should be framed to counter the US cyber aggression against Pakistani people and funds should be allocated in the budget to formulate a strategy to counter that.

The PML-Q leader also called for allocation of funds to evolve a counter-terror strategy as the country was facing terrorism. He said a counterterrorism strategy should be formed taking all stakeholders, including civilian and military branches, on board. He also called for revival of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) which had contributed a lot under the leadership of Raza Rabbani.

Usman Saifullah Khan of the PPP said difficult times needed difficult decisions. However, he lamented it was missing from the budget 2013-14.

He said rather than increasing the general sales tax (GST), the government should have imposed a tax of Rs 10,000 each to the 32,000 potential tax evaders identified by the FBR which could have resulted into an additional Rs 32 billion into the national exchequer.

PPP’s Khwaja Karim said the initiatives taken for youth by the federal government should be for all provinces and there should be no discrimination. He also demanded the GST increase be withdrawn. He said parliamentary democracy should be cemented and the civil-military coordination should be improved.

Humayon Mandokhel said the GwadarPort’s handing over to China was a good step and it would help the country become self-reliant. He said the facility of mortgage for housing sector would help revive the economy, adding that talks should be the way forward for resolution of the Balochistan problem and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should talk to Baloch national leaders.


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