Senate Standing Committee on defence holds important session

Senate Standing Committee on defence holds important session

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Senate Standing Committee on defence holds important session


Secretary Ministry of Defence Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Alam Khattak Thursday informed the Senate Standing Committee on Defence that the F-16s issue was being pursued actively with United States.


In an in-camera meeting of the committee, chaired by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the secretary along with his team briefed the parliamentarians on the issue of sale of F-16 aircraft to Pakistan, which had been held up by the US Congress.


The committee was also informed that "out of four ships promised to the Pakistan Navy, only one has been delivered and there is procrastination on three others ships, although similar agreements had been signed with other countries," said a press release.


Chairman Mushahid Hussain Sayed expressed strong view that the United States must keep its commitment to Pakistan for delivery of F-16 planes, otherwise "this will send a very negative message to the people of Pakistan that the US is showing both a lack of sensitivity to the sacrifices and contribution of the people of Pakistan as well as a pronounced pro-India tilt."


The Defence Secretary assured the body that the matter of F-16 planes would be pursued and it was on the agenda of a high level defence delegation, scheduled to visit Washington to discuss 'this and other issues' on May 30.


Among other issues are the promised funding for Border Management between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the development of Federally Administered Tribal Areas.


The body recommended that Pakistan should have strong lobbying in Washington D.C. as part of the Pakistan government's Public Diplomacy initiative.

The secretary promised to take this proposal forward.


The chairman also presented the report of the visit of Senate Defence Committee to Karachi, Gwadar, Ormara and Pasni where they visited Pakistan Navy installations and had detailed briefings on the role of Pakistan Navy.


The committee praised the role of the Pakistan Navy particularly Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zakaullah for playing a proactive and positive role in promoting maritime security, protecting Pakistan coastal regions and integrating the under-developed regions of Balochistan through socio-economic and educational development.


It also thanked the Pakistan Navy for its excellent briefings and gracious hospitality during the visit.


On a point raised by the chairman regarding the disbursement of Shuhada Package to the next of kin of Army Public School, Peshawar martyrs, the secretary informed the meeting that 70 percent of the package had already been disbursed to the next of kin of the Shuhada. While, the remaining 30 percent is in the process after fulfilling requirements and the documentation that were legally required and the process would complete soon.


Among others, Senators Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Syed Salahuddin Tirmizi, Lt. Gen (Retd.) Abdul Qayyum, Javed Abbasi, Farhatullah Babar, Sehar Kamran and Brig. (Retd.) John Kenneth Williams besides the Committee Secretary Dr Syed Pervaiz Abbas.