New parameters of foreign policy: Debate in joint session from 19th

national assembly of pakistanISLAMABAD: A joint session of parliament is likely to start from March 19 to define new parameter regarding Pakistan’s foreign policy and to decide the fate of resumption of supply to NATO in Afghanistan, Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters at FO on Friday.

“It is for the first time that the executive has asked the parliament of Pakistan to define new lines of foreign policy and to revisit the relations with [the] United States,” he added.He further said the outcome of the joint session would ascertain the future foreign policy of the country, adding that it would also represent the aspirations of the people.

He said the FO gives importance to the parliamentary process to review and revisit the country’s foreign policy. He expressed the hope that the decision of both houses – the Senate and National Assembly – would establish the foreign policy of the country on strong footing.“It will be a different type of consultation as the representatives of the people of Pakistan will have a direct input in providing the guidelines for the foreign policy, “ he said.

To a question on unmanned drone attacks, the spokesman said, “Pakistan has repeatedly said that these are illegal, counter-productive and in violation of sovereignty of the country and should be stopped immediately.”Basit said the drone attacks are damaging Pakistan’s efforts and measures to counter terrorism and extremism. He said Pakistan has been using all diplomatic channels to bring an end to the strikes that are damaging efforts against militancy and terrorism.

“Voices are also being raised in the West against these illegal drone strikes and Pakistan is taking the issue forcefully with the United States,” he said.The spokesman hoped that the US would revisit its policy and it is high time that the “illegal use” of unmanned drone attacks should be stopped.

About the options available for stopping the drone attacks, the spokesman said, “We are waiting for the completion of the parliamentary process on the new terms of engagement with the US under the guidelines of the parliament and move forward and take up the issue with the US.”

Replying to a question, the spokesman said no Pakistani air base was being used by the US for drone attacks. Answering a question on Afghanistan and peace negotiations, the spokesman said, “All stakeholders in Afghan reconciliation process should demonstrate perseverance, patience and sincerity for durable solution of [the] Afghan issue.”

About Samjhauta Express incident, the spokesman said the “abhorrent act” claimed the lives of 42 Pakistanis. He regretted that despite a lapse of five years India had not shared any information into the incident with Pakistan.On Pak-Russia talks, Basit said the next round of the inter-ministerial talks would be held in May. – Dailytimes