Govt announces in-camera session on ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ operation

'Azm-e-Istehkam' operation

ISLAMABAD: After Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) expressed strong opposition to the ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ operation without taking parliament into confidence, the federal government has announced an in-camera session of the National Security Committee (NSC) to discuss the implementation of counter-terrorism campaign.

Speaking in the National Assembly, Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar stated that the meeting will take place in the House to provide a detailed briefing to the members about the counter-terrorism operation.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved a reinvigorated and re-energised national counter-terrorism campaign through the launching of operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ with the consensus of provinces, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir governments.

Tarar stated that Defence Minister Khawaja Asif wanted to tell the assembly about the operation ‘Azm-e-Istehkam’ but it was interrupted by the opposition.

Tarar emphasised the importance of discussing the operation’s implementation and assured that the prime minister would also attend the NSC meeting in the House.

Criticizing the opposition, Tarar said, “For us, Pakistan comes first. Some issues are non-political and should not affect your politics or ours. The defence minister was discussing the importance of the operation, but you didn’t hear a word.”

He also pointed out the opposition’s claims of not being consulted, highlighting that their chief minister (Ali Amin Gandapur) did not object to the counter-terrorism operation during the apex committee meeting. “The opposition did not listen to a single word of the defence minister’s speech. How can there be consultation?”

He assured the House that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would be present with the entire cabinet during the in-camera briefing, unlike their prime minister who chose to stay away from parliamentary proceedings in the past”.

After boycotting the National Assembly budget session and speaking to the media outside the Parliament House, PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan criticised the handling of parliamentary procedures, stating, “Today we tried to speak, but our microphone was turned off, on which we walked out of the Parliament in protest.”

He asserted that any operation requires parliamentary approval and underscored that the constitution mandates the supremacy of the parliament. “Even the apex committee cannot be above the Parliament,” Gauhar reiterated.

PTI Leader Asad Qaiser echoed this sentiment, insisting that any decisions regarding military operations must be presented to the Parliament for approval.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, omar Ayub, also criticized the speaker of the National Assembly for his treatment of the opposition, emphasizing that PTI has 180 seats as per Form 45.

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