NA approves over Rs 16bln for Foreign Affairs Division

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ISLAMABAD, June 21 (APP): The National Assembly on Monday approved as many as 4 demands of grant worth Rs 16,077,300,000 for Foreign Affairs Division.

The lawmakers from the opposition used cut motions to criticise the government over what they call unnecessary spending, however the house rejected around 108 cut motions.

The demands of grant were presented to the House by Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar.

The House approved Rs 1,350,079,000 for Foreign Affairs Division and Rs 12,238,902,000 for Foreign Affairs.

The House also approved Rs 1,988,319,000 for other expenditure of Foreign Affairs Division and Rs 500,000,000 for Capital Outlay on works of Foreign Affairs Division.

Meanwhile, participating in the debate on cut motions Sheikh Rashid of Awami Muslim League said that Pakistan was blue-eyed to America during Afghan War but now we have lost that attraction.

He said that Pakistan must improve its relations with Russia besides further strengthening its ties with Iran and China.

“If economy of the country will be stable then foreign relations will be improved”, he said .

Taking part in the discussion, Naveed Qamar of Pakistan Peoples Party stressed the need to improve bilateral relations with Afghanistan.

He said that western world was looking to Pakistan through the spectacles of Kabul and India and questioned why Pakistan failed to develop relations with Iran.

“There is a serious need to look upon the foreign policy of the country,” he remarked.

Dr. Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said that we have no foreign minister and there was no clarity on foreign policy.

The country’s foreign policy has no direction as we usually come under the pressure of America, she remarked.

She also highlighted the importance of having a full-fledged foreign minister for the country and said that submitting an application for the membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) was nothing to be proud of, as it should have been done long before.

Only the principle stance of China can stop India from becoming member of the group as the countries which are not signatory of Non-Proliferation Treaty could not become its members. she hoped.

She said that the government has not any clear policy on the relations with India.

Taking part in the discussion, Salahuddin Sheikh of MQM also urged the government to appoint a full-fledged foreign minister, saying that there were many experienced people are available in the Parliament who could be given this assignment.

Ayesha Sayed of Jamaat-i-Islami appreciated the services of Pakistani scientists and said Pakistani scientists did remarkable job by making the country an atomic power without American assistance. She said impression was being given that the country’s economy was directly linked with American assistance, which is contrary to the facts.

She said Pakistan should formulate an independent and viable foreign policy.

Jamshid Dasti said the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no soft feeling for Pakistan as he was responsible of killing of hundreds of innocent Muslims in India.

Unfortunately, we have a dual foreign policy and we should devise a clear foreign policy in the interest of Pakistan, he suggested.

“Nexus of USA, India and Israel is against Pakistan and Muslim countries should form its own bloc to counter the enemies of Islam”, Dasti warned.

He also called upon the government for appointing a full-fledged foreign minister to effectively cope with the challenges being confronted to the country.

Imran Khattak of PTI said there were no permanent foreign minister and despite two advisors, we were facing immense diplomatic row with Afghanistan.

He criticized the government for not taking on board the parliament on foreign policy of the country.

He said that despite presence of a number of commercial attaches, country’s export witnessed sharp decrease.

Khalid Maqbool Saddiqui of MQM said foreign policies of the country have been failed as the world witnessed a warm welcome which was given to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Muslim countries to whom we had cordial relations.

More facilities were available to Indian in Middle East countries as compared to Pakistani citizens which is not a healthy trend, he pointed out.

He called upon the government for revisiting foreign policies of the country to cope with the emerging situation in the glob and particluarly in the region.

Shazia Marri of PPP said the government announced only 20 points of the National Action Plan but it was not ready to implement it in a letter and spirit.

Winding up debate, Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said community services were improved in all Pakistani embassies across the world during the last three years.

He said that the overseas Pakistanis could now get machine-readable passports and CNIC from all embassies of the country.

He said efforts were being made to enhance country’s exports as special attention was being paid in this regard.

Sartaj dispelled the impression that Pakistan was being isolated, saying that CASA-1000, TAPI gas and CPEC projects were clear examples that Pakistan was moving forward on right direction.