Pakistan to adopt balanced policy; no ToRs finalized for coalition: Sartaj Aziz

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ISLAMABAD, June 1 (APP): Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign
Affairs Sartaj Aziz Thursday assured the Senate that Pakistan would adopt a balanced policy in line with the recommendations of the Parliament with regards its participation in Islamic Military Coalition.
In response to a Calling Attention Notice, the advisor said the 34
members countries alliance was announced in December 2015 but later it was redefined as Islamic Military Coalition as clarified by the Saudi Foreign Minister.
Sartaj Aziz said it was also clarified during the process of framing
mechanism that every member would be free to decide its participation in any activity by its free will and without any compulsion.
Any member can opt for an area like training, consultation or military
action as per its desire.
Replying to questions by Senator Farhatullah Babar, he said no Terms of Reference (ToRs) or programmes and mechanism had been developed for the coalition by now.
Therefore, there is also no question for ratification. “The government
remains committed to take Parliament into confidence prior to ratification of any such ToRs or mchanisms.”
He said any informal statement by an authority or official cannot be
taken as ToRs or the mechanisms. “The formal position is that no ToRs or purposes have been yet finalized.”
He explained that Pakistan’s policy on this matter is as per guidelines
of the Parliament on April 10, 2015 and “We are having a balanced position in our relations with friendly countries yet we remain committed to maintain territorial integrity of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as protection of the Holy Places.”
The advisor said the matter should not be raised on simply an
assumption as the journal to which the member has quoted in the Calling Attention Notice, has also written that ToRs would be finalized when the defence ministers would meet.
On appointment of General Raheel Sharif, the advisor said he had vast
experience to fight against terrorism. His appointment with the coalition will have no effect on our foreign policy rather his presence there may ensure some sort of balance.
When chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani questioned with regards to Saudi King’s statement about Iran, the advisor said Iran has been mentioned in the resolution, but it does not mean that all countries are joining for an action against Iran. “These are hypothetical questions as there would be choice for members to join an activity.”
He said it is a sad situation that Muslims nations are confronting one
another and in such a situation we shall have to be extra careful.