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Senator Rabbani loses temper over govt’s opacity on Saudi military alliance

RABBANIISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Senate Mian Raza Rabbani on Tuesday expressed his anger at the lack of a response from the government regarding the Saudi Arabia-led 41-nation military alliance headed by former army chief retired Gen Raheel Sharif.

“Why don’t we just shut down Parliament?” a visibly frustrated Rabbani said, after his attempts to draw attention to the issue did not elicit any responses.

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif and the Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz have been summoned to the Senate tomorrow, regarding which the secretaries of the defence and foreign ministries have been issued notices.

“Both ministries are playing the Parliament as if it were a ping-pong ball,” Rabbani said, noting that the defence ministry had deflected his questions saying it had passed the matter on to the Foreign Office.

“Is it impossible for information regarding Saudi Arabia to reach Parliament?” Rabbani asked.

“Does Parliament hold no value?” Rabbani exclaimed as he lost his temper.

“We cannot take this issue lightly.”

Senator Farhatullah Babar agreed that the answers provided by the government are murky at best.

“We have persistently tried to get some information regarding the matter,” Babar observed.

“According to media outlets, the government stated that the Islamic military alliance will be used to combat terrorist elements such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.”

“We also heard that the military alliance would assist member states in combating rebel forces which posed a threat to the country’s sovereignty as per their requests,” Babar said, adding that the government needs to provide answers to lawmakers’ questions. -DN

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