Pak Parliament defers key security briefing by Army

Sajjad Hussain
·2-min read

Islamabad, Nov 10 (PTI) Pakistan's Parliament on Tuesday postponed a key security briefing linked to changing the status of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) after key Opposition parties threatened to boycott it.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaisar had announced that senior Army officers would brief leaders of various parliamentary parties on Wednesday.

Thought he did not disclose the agenda of the briefing, political sources said it would be about giving the provisional status to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

However, Opposition parties refused to attend the briefing, saying that the government would use it to influence the outcome of elections in GB which will be held on November 15.

“The session of parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly and Senate under National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser on November 11 (has been) postponed,' the National Assembly Secretariat tweeted.

Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Faiz Hameed were expected to brief the lawmakers. The two also briefed politicians in September about the issue of changing the status of GB.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal told media that it was decided in the meeting with General Bajwa and ISI chief that no further discussion would be held until completion of election process in GB.

The Opposition alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) said that it would not attend the briefing.

Reportedly, China also wants that the disputed status of GB should be changed so that its investments in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through GB, are safe and protected.

India has protested to China over the CPEC project as it is being laid through PoK.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that his government has decided to accord a “provisional provincial status” to the Gilgit-Baltistan region of PoK.

Reacting to Khan’s remarks, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava said in New Delhi that India 'firmly rejects' the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory which is under Islamabad's 'illegal and forcible occupation' and asked the neighbouring country to immediately vacate such areas. PTI SH CPS