Ironically, a few political leaders had selected public forums such as rallies, media-talk shows, etc., to express their concerns or reservations on the recommendations of the Committee. It seems that they are not satisfied with the Parliament’s forum or believe that ruling coalition might impose its will on the parliament by the exercise of its majority in both Senate and National Assembly.
The Committee seems determined to create a space for Pakistan’s role in the Afghanistan reconciliation process as the foreign troops withdrawal draws closer. Some of the members have already been convinced to link the resumption of NATO supplies with the Afghan endgame.
According to the media reports, in the meeting of the 12-member parliamentary panel, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) demanded that two points be added to the proposals being reviewed. Firstly, the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, and secondly, a solution to the Kashmir issue. Since independence, solution of Kashmir is a fundamental part of Pakistan’s foreign and strategic policy. Pakistanis have been endeavoring for the solution of Kashmir; therefore, the committee should recommend a practical plan for its solution.
The release of Dr. Aafia is a politicized-cum-legal issue. It requires a serious reconsideration, especially when the case regarding the missing people is in the apex court of Pakistan. Indeed, one cannot oppose the release of Dr. Afia, yet one needs to realize that nations’ national interests are more important than a mere political point scoring or individuals.
Lawmakers from the ruling alliance – the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – recommended that “the NATO supplies’ resumption should be linked to suspension of drone strikes in Pakistan.” The PML-N appeared to be in concurrence with this demand of the ruling coalition. If both ruling coalition and opposition are on the same page, this demand could be part of the final draft.
The chief of his own faction of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Maulana Fazlur Rehman had categorically stated that “come what may, the NATO routes should not be reopened.” This rigid approach certainly minimizes the diplomatic options, and, thereby, such impractical-cum-emotional misleading rhetoric to assuage a particular constituency should be circumvented. Hence, instead of emotional and political point scoring debate in the parliament, legislators ought to chalk out a viable foreign and strategic policy.