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Opposition refuses to attend NAP huddle: Grudge politics?


News DesK |

A consultative meeting of the parliamentary parties on National Action Plan (NAP), which was earlier scheduled to be held on Thursday, 28th March 2019 (today), has been cancelled owing to the refusal of the leaders of the opposition to attend it, local press reported.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on the advice of Prime Minister Imran Khan had sent a letter to the spearheads of parliamentary parties for a consultation on the NAP on March 28.

However, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and stranded from the parliament after several governments, Jamiat-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) Chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman refused to be part of the huddle. Shahbaz informed them about his unavailability via letter, said the foreign minister in his explanatory note. Zardari and Rehman declined to attend the meeting via telephone, he said.

The meeting was to elaborate on the objectives of National Action, which also includes not allowing the use of Pakistan’s soil for terrorist activities against any other country, the letter read.

A few days ago, the foreign minister had sent letters to members of the opposition inviting them to the government briefing in a committee room at Parliament House. However, they had already hinted that they would boycott it due to political tensions in the country.

The spokesperson for the foreign minister reportedly told press that the opposition leaders declined to attend due to their “political engagements”. “Under these circumstances, due to the political considerations of opposition parties, the consultation will not be held,” the spokesperson added.

The meeting was to elaborate on the objectives of National Action, which also includes not allowing the use of Pakistan’s soil for terrorist activities against any other country, the letter read. It further stated that National Action Plan (NAP) is reflective of national consensus on the issue of terrorism. It said that implementation of the plan is in the long-term interest of Pakistan.

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Shahbaz Sharif in his letter to the FM demanded that the NAP discussion should be doled out to the parliament instead. “The collective opposition believes in inclusive decision-making and promoting a sense of collective ownership of all decisions taken in the national interest. It is, therefore, suggested that your proposed briefing be given to the National Assembly so that the country can benefit from the collective wisdom of all the parliamentarians instead of selected parliamentary leaders,” Shahbaz wrote in his letter.

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