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FAFEN report: Relations with neighbors and US worsened in PML-N government

FAFEN report: Relations with neighbors and US worsened in PML-N government

Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) explores the performance of PML-N’s government with regard to three very crucial areas namely foreign policy, anti-terrorism and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There are basically two sections of the report. One of them deals with the Assembly’s Output while the other deals with the Oversight of the Executive’s Performance based on various agenda.

14th National Assembly s Contributions to Foreign Affairs, Anti-Terrorism and CPEC. Source; FAFEN

The report states that the government-sponsored and supplementary business items were preferred over the private lawmaker’s interventions. Foreign affairs in the parliamentary business were no more than five per cent of the regular agenda.

Resolutions, Calling Attention Notices, Resolutions, Motions, and Questions

According to FAFEN, more than two thirds (67%) of the resolutions on foreign affairs were treated as supplementary agenda. Overall, the agenda related to foreign affairs included 24 (5%) Calling Attention Notices (CANs), 55 (12%) resolutions, 27 (10%) Motions under Rule 259, 671 (5%) questions and a private member’s bill which did not proceed beyond committee deliberation.

On the other side, lawmakers pointed out the same issue through CANs and fortunately most of them, 83 per cent, could draw the responses from the government. The lawmakers demanded responses over the issues pertaining to foreign policy. Interestingly, 90% of 671 questions were responded well.

The total of eight per cent of the agenda of national assembly was given to foreign policy, anti-terrorism and the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), all three of them are quite crucial. 55 resolutions were presented in the assembly. In them matters interconnected to foreign policy were discussed, even the performance of foreign office was interpolated. For furthering the relations with other countries, 88 Parliamentary Friendship Groups were established. In 2015 and 2017, resolutions were passed in favour of Rohingya Muslims and demanded the international community to take actions against Myanmar government.

Relations with India, Afghanistan, and even the US deteriorated

The relations with neighbouring countries especially India and Afghanistan deteriorated. The relations with US remained strained during the tenure. This majorly happened after the statements of Donald Trump. The House also condemned the drone strikes expressed detestation over anti-Pakistani statements of the US president.The reaction of the House was quite severe that in one of the resolutions it was recommended to terminate ties with the US. Just like other resolution, this resolution lost somewhere.

On the other side, there were eight resolutions regarding Indo-Pak relations of which the major subject was Kashmir and ceasefire violations on LOC and Working Boundary. The statements of Indian premier Modi regarding acceptance to break Pakistan by intervening in its internal affairs and supporting extremist elements was also condemned.

 Modi embraced warmly he supported the separatists who fought against Pakistan Army. Photo: File

 Total of 24 CANs were required clarifications from the concerned ministries. CANs related to India were majorly dealing with Kashmir, border management, and violations on LOC.

PTI was more concerned with foreign affairs

The party that seemed to be more concerned with foreign affair issues was PTI which moved nine of the 24 CANs, seven solely and two with the support of PPPP and AMLP lawmakers.

Imran Khan calling on John Kerry. Photo: File

Around five per cent or 671 of 13,912 questions were related to foreign policy. Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded 554 questions as they were related to various aspects of foreign policy. 96 lawmakers of eight parties asked questions on foreign affairs.

Overall, the performance of the assembly could not bring good name to the country. State of foreign policy deteriorated as relations with the US, India, and Afghanistan severely soured. In short, the next legislative assembly would have gigantic tasks regarding foreign policy to deal with.

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