ISLAMABAD  -   Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Monday’s National Assembly session said Pakistan is committed to facilitating a negotiated solution to Afghan war but sustainable peace  is a shared responsibility of neighbouring countries including India.

Pakistan alone could not bring peace to Afghanistan as it was a shared responsibility of regional countries including India, Iran, Tajikistan and China, the minister said while responding to a point of order raised by opposition MNA Maulana Abdul Wasay.

The minister said that it was a shared responsibility to bring peace to Afghanistan and cooperation of the regional countries including Iran, Tajikstan, china  India etc would be required.

In order to bring peace to Afghanistan, Qureshi said, many parleys had already taken place in Doha and the UAE.

He said US President Donald Trump had asked Pakistan to help bring peace to Afghanistan. “US President Donald Trump wrote a letter and asked for cooperation to bring peace to Afghanistan, which we are already doing,” said the minister.

Qureshi added US Special Envoy for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad had also visited Pakistan and held meetings on this matter.

The minister, responding to the concerns raised by the opposition member, said Prime Minister Imran Khan “used to say that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan war”.

 “When he (Imran Khan) was in opposition he was not in favour of military solution to the Afghanistan war,” he said, adding that Afghanistan needed a political settlement.

About opening of the Kartarpura corridor, he said this step of incumbent government was lauded even in the neighbouring country, India.

He said “We also expects from India to reciprocate Pakistan’s peace initiative.”

West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill passed

The PTI’s government for the first time could able to pass a bill entitled ‘The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill 2018’ from the house.

The opposition parties, raising objections to the bill, asked the chair to send it to the committee concerned for vetting.

They also criticised government for not constituting the standing committees even after passing three months of this government. Later, they accepted the request of the chair to pass it as it has already been passed from the upper house of parliament.

“We (opposition) on your request withdrawing our amendment but the government should not make it precedent. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi from government side ensured not to make it practice.

The statement of objects and reasons of the bill says, “law and justice commission of Pakistan in its report while discussing “Repeal of obsolete and redundant legislations’’ proposed to repeal the west Pakistan Juvenile Smoking Ordinance,  in view of prohibition of smoking and protection of non-smokers’ health ordinance, 2002”.

The PTI government had earlier passed just the finance bill 2018 from the house.

Resolution on Human Rights

The house, in connection with Human Rights Day, unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming its commitment to the undeniable rights of every individual and urges the government to ensure the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution.

“We should ensure freedom of speech including freedom of the press. We believe, there is a dire need to reduce poverty and hunger in the country,” says a resolution moved by PTI’s Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari.

It says: “The state must ensure constitutional implementation of all obligations related social and economic well-being of the people. All political parties of this house resolve to work together for prosperity, interfaith harmony, minority rights, women empowerment, sustainable development and peace.”

It added the house also resolve to strengthen democratic values, rule of law and human rights while reducing corruption, injustice and extremism in the country.

MNA from tribal area Mohsin Dawar, on point of order, raised concerns for putting his name on Exit Control List (ECL) and offloading him from a Dubai-bound flight at Peshawar airport. “Passing a resolution on human rights would not serve real purpose as steps needed to ensure human rights in the country,” Dawar said.

Shireen Mazari said the government believes in the rule of law and all required steps would be taken. “Resolution of missing persons issue is also our commitment,” the minister said, adding that all issue should be resolved through dialogue to strengthen democracy in the country.

“It is unfair to stop someone for using his democratic right. It is wrong to put someone name on ECL without any reason,” she said.

Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, on production order, attended the proceedings of the house. The house witnessed thin presence from both sides of the aisle.