Mushahid says strengthening Iran ties key to Border, Energy Security

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Mushahid says strengthening Iran ties key to Border & Energy Security, Senate Defence Committee urges proactive counter-terror strategy to make border regions peaceful for trade & economic connectivity

DNA

Islamabad, JUN 20: The Senate Standing Committee on Defence, chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, convened a meeting today to address important issues pertaining to national security and the well-being of the citizens. Senators Walid Iqbal, Hidayat Ullah, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Dr Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, Engr Rukhsana Zuberi, Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan and Mover; ex-Senator Muhammad Zahid Khan attended the meeting. Secretary Ministry of Defence Lt Gen (Retd) Hamood Uz Zaman HI(M), Additional Secretary Ministry of Defence, Major General Khurram and DG, Military Lands & Cantonments, Major General Tariq, and CEO Rawalpindi Cantonment, also participated.

The meeting commenced with Fateha offered for the souls who lost their lives in the Greece boat tragedy. The Committee extended their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and expressed solidarity with them during this difficult time.

The meeting discussed in detail the unauthorized commercial activities in Westridge, Rawalpindi Cantt. The Director General Military Lands and Cantonments (ML&C) delivered a detailed presentation, highlighting the steps taken to address the issue. He informed the committee that the department has been actively combating illegal activities and commercialization. However, due to a Supreme Court order issued on 5th January 2022, the ML&C has been restrained from taking action against school premises. The DG ML&C assured the committee that once the Cantonment Board (Amendment) Act 2023 is passed by the Parliament, stringent measures, including heavy fines and property sealing, will be implemented to ensure compliance with the directions.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed assured the petitioner that he would expedite the process in the Senate, aiming for the prompt enactment of the act to resolve the long-standing concerns of the residents. Following a comprehensive discussion, the Chair disposed of the matter, after ensuring the satisfaction of the petitioner.

The Committee was also briefed on counter-terrorism operations conducted by the Pakistan Army in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as well as the security situation on the borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed commended the recent meeting between the Pakistan Prime Minister and the President of Iran at the Pak-Iran border, considering it a positive step forward in strengthening ties between the two nations. He also welcomed the recent high-level visits to Iran by senior Pakistan security and diplomatic officials, which would yield positive results for peace, border security and economic connectivity. Senator Mushahid termed close ties with Iran as pivotal for Pakistan’s border and energy security.

The Committee also discussed in detail the security situation on the Pak-Afghan border and expressed satisfaction over the steps taken by the government towards ensuring peace on the border. They also underlined the need for a proactive and consistent CT strategy that should focus on a pro-people approach with no quarter or compromise with any terrorist group. The members of the Defence Committee expressed appreciation to the Ministry of Defence for their comprehensive and candid briefings and continuous support and underlined the commitment to safeguarding national security, addressing public concerns, and fostering harmonious relations with neighboring countries. The Committee will continue to monitor the progress made on these issues and take appropriate actions to ensure the well-being and security of the Pakistani people.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed condemned the recent brutal murder of Haji Sher Muhammad, a grandson of the legendary Faqir of Ipi, in North Waziristan, and the arrest of Ali Wazir, MNA. Senator Mushahid Hussain concurred with the views of Senator Mushtaq, saying that the arrest of Ali Wazir at this time would be detrimental to security of the borderlands while it was also a violation of the law passed by Parliament that explicitly stated that ‘no member of parliament should be arrested without Speaker’s permission’.  He called for the release of Ali Wazir. He also hailed the Faqir of Ipi as a famous anti-imperialist freedom fighter. The Chairman of the Defence Committee referred these two issues to the Senate Human Rights Committee, whose Chairman, Senator Walid Iqbal, readily agreed to put it on the HR Committee’s agenda for consideration. The meeting concluded with a vote of thanks to the Chair. Secretary of the Senate Defence Committee, Major (r) Hasnain Haider, was also present on the occasion.