Earlier this week Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addressed the National Assembly as opposition pressurized him to appear and answer the questions raised by opposition regarding his family’s off-shore companies. Prime minister while addressing the assembly said that he had nothing to hide and he was ready for accountability at every level. He also suggested that a parliamentary committee consisting of parliamentary leaders of all political parties should be formed to draft the terms of reference (ToRs) for the judicial commission, which would investigate the reports of the Panama Papers. Meanwhile after the address of PM, the opposition staged a walkout saying the prime minister’s address was of no use and that the speech created more confusion than clarity.
Leader of opposition Khursheed Shah said the opposition demanded answers to seven questions but rather the speech created 70 more questions about prime minister’s factories in Dubai and Jeddah. However, the next day after a consultative meeting and talks with National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, the joint opposition decided to end boycott of parliament. The opposition also agreed over prime minister’s proposal regarding setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to prepare comprehensive terms of reference (ToRs).
The federal government and the opposition also agreed to constitute a 12-member parliamentary committee to draft a consensus terms of reference (ToRs) for an investigation commission that is supposed to probe the revelations made by the Panama Papers.
In a recent development over issuance of military aid to Pakistan, the United States (US) House of Representatives voted 277 to 147 in favour of a defence policy bill seeking to increase restrictions on military aid for Pakistan unless certain conditions are met. The House, expressing frustration over what they term Islamabad’s failure to crack down on the Haqqani network, passed the $602 billion National Defense Authorization Act 2017, or NDAA.
The NDAA will block $450 million in aid to Islamabad unless it does more to fight the militant group. The bill requires the Pentagon to certify that Pakistan is conducting military operations to disrupt the Haqqani network and actively coordinating with Afghanistan’s government to fight the network along their border.
Meanwhile the four-nation initiative for reconciliation in Afghanistan is faced with an uncertain future as it failed to make headway amid growing differences among the participating countries over dealing with the Taliban. The fifth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China ended on Wednesday without any agreement on a future strategy for bringing the insurgents to the negotiating table. Meanwhile Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said that efforts to persuade the Taliban to talk directly to the Kabul government could only bear fruit if the Afghan army stopped the Taliban from gaining the upper hand. He urged Kabul to create “incentives” and confidence-building measures to persuade the Taliban that it was serious about giving peace a chance.
At local front politicians continue blame games and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan have been particularly active in this regard. While addressing a public meeting D.I. Khan, prime minister without mentioning the name of PTI chief Imran Khan, has said that those who claimed to build a ‘new Pakistan’ could not even make a ‘new Khyber Pakhtunkhwa., while Imran Khan has also been bashing Nawaz Sharif during his rallies and public addresses.
Meanwhile according to media reports, with the completion of the final phase of the operation Zarb-i-Azb in Shawal, the army has shifted its focus to the repatriation of internally displaced persons (IDPs), which will be initiated very soon. According to reports eighty per cent of the displaced population will be back in their homes in North and South Waziristan by September. The army has also focused on development of infrastructure, provision of basic facilities as well as employment in the areas. Meanwhile a policeman was killed and 13 police personnel and six civilians were injured after two bomb explosions hit Peshawar city this week. According to the Police, the first blast targeted police personnel who were providing security to polio teams. While BDU teams and police personnel were checking the site, another blast took place which caused most of the casualties.
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