Gen Bajwa and
DG-ISI brief lawmakers,
Imran did not attend

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ISLAMABAD: Though declining to reveal any part of in-camera proceedings, the parliamentarians across the divide on Monday appreciated the comprehensive briefing by the ISI on national security, foreign affairs, internal and external challenges faced by the country and expressed satisfaction over the measures taken to counter the threats and tackle the challenges ahead.

Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not much publicised and waiting meeting of Parliamentary Committee on National Security that met under the chairmanship of Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser in Parliament House, was briefed by the Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed about regional and political challenges especially the situation in Jammu & Kashmir and Afghanistan, here at the Parliament House.

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Asad Mahmood (Son of Maulana Fazlur Rehman) talking to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Monday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in a chat with the media at the Parliament House said DG ISI gave a presentation while Chief of the Army Staff responded to the queries raised during the briefing. He said the Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif and other opposition leaders also presented their points of view.

Qureshi said he also gave the government’s stance on the latest situation in Afghanistan, the progress made so far and the government’s desire for the future of Afghanistan. “The objective was to take the opposition leaders into confidence. They were taken into confidence and were apprised of the whole situation.”

The foreign minister said though he was bound not to reveal the details of the in-camera session; however, added that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere where both the sides listened to each other’s viewpoint with patience.

ISLAMABAD: Asad Qaiser, Speaker National Assembly talking with Bilawal Bhutto and Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday.

Opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif in a brief chat said “the presentations were very good, and so were the questions and answers. The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere, and I think it went very well.”

However, he said “no comments” when asked about whether there was a discussion on TLP or agreement with the TTP. He said it was an in-camera briefing. He said he was very satisfied with the briefing.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the briefing was held under a fantastic atmosphere. “Such an atmosphere should continue to prevail,” he said when probed about the details.

Asked about any decision regarding TTP, he said no decision was neither made regarding TTP. To another question whether there was any discussion about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s categorical stance of “Absolutely Not”, the Interior Minister replied in negative.

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif talking to Bilawal Bhutto Zardar on Monday.

The meeting that was attended by national parliamentary and political leadership, members of the National Assembly and Senate, provincial leadership, Prime Minister AJ&K, also had a Question & Answer at the end of the briefing. Later the members of the committee presented their recommendations.

Several of the participants said they were impressed by the effective measures taken by Pakistan’s elite intelligence agency in countering and neutralising multiple threats; particularly from its eastern neighbour, which was also using the soil of Afghanistan for its ulterior objectives, by using the Afghan NDS. They said due to its effective countermeasures Pakistan today was a safe country, for foreign investors and tourists, alike.

The participants who requested not to be named, as it was an in-camera briefing, said the success of these countermeasures could be gauged from the fact that now only a limited Intelligence Based Operations (IBOs) were being conducted by the Pakistan army as the hostile intelligence agencies were finding it difficult to carry out subversive activities.

COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa

A parliamentarian mentioned the successful operation by the ISI to bust the terror network being operated by a serving senior officer of Indian armed forces Kulbushan Jadev and said it was unprecedented to unearth such a complex network, hidden behind several layers.

A treasury bench Senator recalled Prime Minister Imran Khan’s several statements where he specifically lauded the role of ISI in safeguarding the country from external and internal threats and said the Prime Minister during all his visits and meetings with the Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and DG ISI have appreciated the key role they were playing in ensuring the stability and security of Pakistan.

DG-ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed

Another opposition senator said he believed that such meetings were good to listen to all the sides on critical issues of national importance. He mentioned the release of several dossiers containing “incriminating and irrefutable evidence” collected by the ISI against the terrorist operations conducted by the Indian intelligence agency – RAW, inside Pakistan and how these were aimed at creating a divide and chaos in the country.

A parliamentarian from KPK said the role of Inter-Services Intelligence in neutralising the threats from Afghanistan, under the previous regime of Ashraf Ghani has to be acknowledged as the Afghan soil was being used to carry out subversive activities against the people of Pakistan.

The meeting was also attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, DG ISI Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar and other senior military officers.

ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers attend the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Monday. Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif, Khawaja Asif, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Maulana Asad Mahmood and Amir Hoti are seated in front row.

In the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee, Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjarani, Leader of Opposition in National Assembly and Senate Shahbaz Sharif and Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Deputy Speaker National Assembly Muhammad Qasim Khan Federal Ministers Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Suri, Pervez Khattak, Asad Umar, Shafqat Mahmood, Dr. Shirin Mazari, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, Ali Amin Gandapur, Murad Saeed, Syed Shibli Faraz, Dr. Forough Naseem, Ejaz Ahmad Shah, Monis Elahi, Noor Haq Qadri, Omar Ayub Khan, Syed Fakhr Imam, Syed Aminul Haq, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yousaf, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, Chairman Kashmir Committee Shehryar Afridi , Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Affairs Malik Muhammad Amir Dogar,

Senate Leader Dr. Shehzad Wasim, Members of National Assembly Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Asad Mehmood, Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Ghous Bakhsh Khan Mehr, Amir Haider Azam Khan, Nawabzada Shah Zain Bugti, Members of the Senate Sherry Rehman, Azam Nazir Tarar, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Syed Faisal Ali Sabzwari, Mohammad Tahir Bizenjo, Hidayatullah Khan, Mohammad Shafiq Tareen, Kamil Ali Agha, Mushtaq Ahmed, Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah, Mohammad Qasim and Dilawar Khan are participating.

Members of National Assembly Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Rana Tanveer Hussain, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Raja Pervez Ashraf and Hina Rabbani Khar, Syed Naveed Qamar, Mohsin Dawar, Khawaja Saad Rafique, Tariq Sadiq, Syed Fayyaz Al Hassan,Ms. Aliya Hamza Malik, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani and Members of the National Assembly’s Defense Committee have also attended.