Parliament passes 14-point resolution on national security
Updated at: 1025 PST, Wednesday, October 22, 2008
ISLAMABAD: The Parliament on Wednesday unanimously endorsed a 14-point resolution on national policy regarding internal security and war against terrorism.
Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani tabled the resolution in the joint in-camera session of parliament chaired by speaker Dr. Fehmida Mirza. Members of parliament unanimously passed the resolution.
Earlier, joint parliamentary draft committee discussed and finalized the 14-point recommendations on national security in a meeting presided over by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Sherry Rehman at the Parliament House today.
According to sources, the resolution asks government to hold dialogue only with militants who lay down arms and compensate all soldiers and civilians who embraced martyrdom in fight against terror. It also asks government to defend the territorial integrity of the country and retaliate any attempt of foreign misadventure. Lastly, the resolution urges government to flush foreign militants out of the tribal areas.
Prime Minister Gilani was consulted to finalise the draft of the resolution, sources added. (The News)
It is a bad day for Taliban and their supporters in Pakistani media, e.g. Ansar Abbasi, Kashif Abbasi, Mushtaq Minhas and Hamid Mir.
Well done, Zardari. Well done, PPP, PML-N, ANP, MQM, JUI and other parties which have expressed their unanimous support for the war on terror.
Here is the link to BBC dot com article:
Historic 14-point anti-terrorism resolution adopted unanimously :
Nation united against terrorism: parliament
* Dialogue will be primary instrument of conflict resolution
* Redistribution of resources to resolve Balochistan violence
* Civil agencies will replace military in troubled areas
* Compensation for violence victims, rehabilitation for the displaced
By Irfan Ghauri and Muhammad Bilal
ISLAMABAD: In a historic resolution on Wednesday, the parliament said the Pakistani nation was united against terrorism and sectarian violence and would tackle the problem by addressing its root causes.
The 14-point resolution, drafted after two days of rigorous negotiations, was passed unanimously. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani moved the resolution, which he said would serve as policy guideline to the government in framing a national security strategy.
“Extremism, militancy and terrorism in all forms and manifestations pose a grave danger to the stability and integrity of the country,” the resolution said. “Dictatorial regimes in the past pursued policies aimed at perpetuating their own power at the cost of national interest. “We need an urgent review of our national security strategy and revisiting the methodology of combating terrorism in order to restore peace and stability to Pakistan and the region through an independent foreign policy.”
Dialogue: The parliament decided that “dialogue must now be the highest priority, as a principal instrument of conflict management and resolution”, but also said talks would only “be encouraged with all those elements willing to abide by the constitution of Pakistan and rule of law”.
The legislators decided that all foreign fighters, “if found, shall be expelled from Pakistan’s soil”.
The parliament vowed that Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be safeguarded. “The nation stands united against any incursions and invasions of the homeland, and calls upon the government to deal with it effectively,” the resolution said, but added: “Pakistan’s territory shall not be used for any kind of attacks on other countries.”
They also decided that “the development of troubled zones, particularly the Tribal Areas, and the NWFP must also be pursued through all possible ways and legitimate means to create genuine stakeholders in peace. New economic opportunities shall be created in order to bring the less privileged areas at par with the rest of Pakistan”.
Balochistan: On the problem in Balochistan, the resolution called for “a political dialogue with the people, addressing of their grievances and redistribution of resources shall be enhanced and accelerated”.
It said the federation must be strengthened “through the process of democratic pluralism, social justice, religious values and tolerance, and equitable resource sharing between the provinces as enshrined in the Constitution of 1973”.
Military: The state must ensure rule of law, the unanimous resolution said, and “when it has to intervene to protect the lives of its citizens, caution must be exercised to avoid casualties of non-combatants in conflict zones”. The legislators demanded that military be replaced with civilian law enforcement agencies in the conflict zones as early as possible, “with enhanced capacity and a sustainable political system achieved through a consultative process”.
The state must establish its writ, they demanded, but through “confidence building mechanisms by using customary and local [jirgas]”. Pakistan’s strategic interests must be protected “by developing stakes in regional peace and trade, both on the western and eastern borders”.
Compensation and rehabilitation: The parliament decided that the “mechanisms for internal security be institutionalised by paying compensation to victims of violence; and rehabilitate those displaced”.
The parliament also decided to form a committee to periodically review “the implementation of the principles framed and roadmap given in the resolution”. The committee will frame its own rules when it meets.(Daily Times)
THE MPs have finally come up with a consensus resolution and this in itself is an achievement. Beyond that, one would be hard put to discover substance in the 14-point resolution read out to parliament by the prime minister on Wednesday. Between the opposition and the government, which side has given more is a matter of opinion. Keen to get a parliamentary endorsement of its policies, the government seems to have conceded more than the opposition. There is no reference to the war against terrorism in the resolution hammered out after a 15-day in-camera session of the two houses. The Taliban and Al Qaeda have not been named; instead the MNAs and senators confine themselves to noting “with great concern” that “extremism, militancy and terrorism” pose a threat to Pakistan’s stability and integrity. How to combat this menace has not been spelled out in specific terms, even though the resolution calls for “an urgent review” of the national security strategy. While the demand for “an independent foreign policy” could be considered a dig at the Musharraf government’s take on events, the resolution does not recommend what aberrations in Pakistan’s external relations need to be removed.
The resolution places emphasis on dialogue and calls it the “principal instrument of conflict management”. To that extent it breaks no new ground, for the PPP-led government too stands pledged to talks — an idea that is gaining ground in American and European capitals as well. However, the PPP government says it will talk to those militants who lay down arms. The resolution only indirectly concedes the government’s right to use force by pleading that collateral damage be avoided when the security forces “intervene” to ensure the government’s writ. On the question of sovereignty, it has maintained a fine balance. While the resolution asks the government to “deal” with incursions into Pakistan, it says the country should not be allowed to be used for acts of terrorism against other states, and that foreign militants be expelled.
Let us count our blessings: at one stage it appeared the opposition would walk away. That it did not do so and that finally the MPs managed to hammer out a consensus resolution is a matter of thanksgiving. Apparently our boys are growing. For the first time since the unity shown at the time of Musharraf’s exit, all parties have once again come together, even if the diluted resolution disappoints the nation, which had expected something more concrete from the people’s representatives. Nawaz Sharif had spoken a lot and made no secret of his reservations about the government’s war on terror, but his party too finally went along. Perhaps the resolution is a first step towards evolving what eventually could become a forceful, result-oriented national consensus. (Dawn)