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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Does opposition want to allow US bases in Pakistan?

The opposition has asked the government to take the parliament into confidence over the matter of airbases. So, Ms. Shiffa Yousafzai has some interesting questions to ask from the opposition.

Shiffa Yousafzai, a prominent morning show host, has raised a question about Pakistan’s decision not to allow the United States to use its airbases. Ms. Yousafzai asked a question in the backdrop of criticism being leveled against Prime Minister Imran Khan after a clear policy statement.

She asked: “Was listening to shows now, few opp. members say Imran Khan didn’t bring the subject of “US Bases in Pak” to parliament for a debate. Trying to understand if there is another view present on this? If opposition feels IK’s decision is wrong why they don’t openly say it?”

Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan has categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory for any sort of action inside Afghanistan. “Absolutely not. There is no way we are going to allow any bases, any sort of action from Pakistani territory into Afghanistan. Absolutely not,” the prime minister told “Axios on HBO” in an interview.

As an opposition leader in 2012, Imran Khan led thousands of people in a rally from Islamabad to the tribal areas to protest US drone operations.

Opposition leaders raise questions

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has asked the government to take the parliament into confidence over the regional security situation likely to emerge after the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

The demand was made by PPP information secretary and former deputy speaker of the National Assembly Faisal Karim Kundi and Senator Rubina Khalid at a news conference here on Sunday, a day before start of the budget session of the lower house of the parliament.

In an apparent reference to some of the recent high-level security meetings, Mr Kundi said the parliament should be taken into confidence about the situation in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US forces, saying that the PPP believed that there should be no closed-door meetings on the situation after the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and that the parliament be taken into confidence on the issue.

On this occasion, Mr Kundi challenged Prime Minister Imran Khan to have a debate with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in the parliament on the matters related to foreign affairs, economy and other issues. He also called for evaluation of the performance of the chief ministers of all provinces to see whose performance was better.

Read More: US considers air strikes if Taliban threaten fall of Kabul

Senior PML-N and former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the FO’s explanation of the US military base is unsatisfactory.

The demand came after the Foreign Office vehemently rejected speculations about the presence of a US military or airbase inside Pakistan, saying such “baseless and irresponsible speculations” must be avoided.

He added that the Pak-US Air-Ground Communication Agreement must have been signed in 2001 and asked the authorities to explain what were the terms of the agreement. He also sought an explanation as to when implementation on the agreement was halted.

“If there’s no new agreement between the two sides when was the previous one renewed and who signed this?”

The PML-N leader also asked the government why the matter was not discussed in the cabinet and the National Assembly.

Read More: Pakistan to provide military support to US as Mooed Yusuf meets counterpart

“An explanation should be presented in the Parliament on this issue related to national security,” said the PML-N stalwart.