Opposition demands policy statement on US president’s remarks

ISLAMABAD: Despite there being no love lost between the ruling party and the opposition, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) on Thursday demanded that the government immediately announce a policy statement on US President Donald Trump’s allegations that militants enjoyed ‘safe havens’ inside the country.

Even though his party has rejected any possibility of a dialogue with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on political issues, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah urged the government to summon a joint session of parliament.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Mr Shah said the government should take all political parties into confidence and formulate a unanimous strategy on how to deal with the situation arising after Trump’s speech.

“The government and the opposition should devise a policy to safeguard the honour and respect of the country,” he said.

He said the threatening stance of the US president was not only a problem for the government and the opposition, but was also a source of concern for the 220 million people of the country.

“Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi should come up with concrete steps in this regard,” he said, hours before the PM hinted at the possibility of summoning a joint session of parliament to discuss Trump’s speech.

The two main opposition parties — PPP and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) – have already submitted separate adjournment motions to the National Assembly secretariat, demanding that a special session of the house be convened to give a befitting response to the US administration.

On Thursday, similar resolutions were also submitted before the Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial assemblies by the PPP and PTI, respectively.

“The US president has not only undermined Pakistan’s numerous contributions and sacrifices in the war against terror, but has also threatened the country of dire consequences in case of failure to adhere to this dictation,” the PPP’s adjournment motion said.

Similarly, the PTI motion urged the NA to discuss the issue, saying: “The speech of the US President Donald Trump on Aug 20, in which he has accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and asked Pakistan to ‘do more’ totally ignoring that no country in the world has done more than Pakistan to counter the menace of terrorism.”