Sherry criticises govt for ignoring parliament on PM’s Washington visit
ISLAMABAD: PPP’s vice-president Senator Sherry Rehman has criticised the government for not taking parliament into confidence on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States.
“Washington is always considered a key capital for Islamabad and the bilateral agenda may have benefited with more robust advice from political parties and resource persons in Pakistan,” Ms Rehman said in a statement here on Wednesday.
The PPP government, she said, had always discussed issues of vital national importance in parliament because it set an important and bipartisan tone for strategic issues and policy momentum. “Questions remain as to what truths will be told by both sides and what will be bargained in Washington.”
Ms Rehman, who had served as the country’s ambassador to the US during the previous PPP government, said while the Foreign Office had clarified on the nuclear discussion one hoped that Pakistan’s position on its deterrence posture would be discussed with the US officials with clarity.
“The imbalance in the region given India’s civil nuclear deal still leads to disquiet, especially given the fungible nature of dual-use material which is open to military use,” she added.
The PPP senator was of the view that important questions about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan and the scale of American security assistance to Kabul also needed to be addressed during the PM’s meeting with the US president.
“If Pakistan is once again left with the debris of a long war and accusations in Afghanistan then it will be the result of the government’s inability to use the power of parliament to make a case that it can credibly advance,” she added.
“There is no need for Pakistan to be on the defensive if it has to do the heavy lift of policing a literally open border that no international player bothered to manage over the last 14 years, even for narcotics interdiction. Terrorists are a global challenge to all states, and they require collaborative solutions, beyond just CSF reimbursements.”
Ms Rehman said that now it was time to bring up what Pakistan really needed, which was access to the US market for its goods, and visas for students. “Right now, under the new US-driven Trans-Pacific Partnership in the Far East, Pakistan may lose many of its existing exports given that the US is our largest bilateral trading partner,” she feared.
“I would definitely put on the table American support, not necessarily aid, with big signature energy projects. We had started preliminary work on Bhasha Dam and Dasu project by mid-2013. Those need US-backed support from multilateral organisations. This is the time to ask for it,” she added.
Ms Rehman said she assumed that New Delhi’s new doctrine of “coercive posturing” with Islamabad would also be on the table.