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Poverty cannot be ended by driving tanks on farmlands, Nawaz tells joint session of Parliament

ISLAMABAD: A joint session of Parliament is underway in the capital today to discuss Indian aggression at the Line of Control (LoC) as well as foreign policy matters after India pledged to “isolate Pakistan”.

Read more: Hopes from joint session

National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq opened the session by welcoming PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is present in the speaker gallery. PPP lawmakers greeted the announcement with applause and thumping of desks.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is the first to address the lawmakers present in the assembly on the Kashmir issue.

India cannot deny rights to Kashmiris: PM

The prime minister said, “Kashmiri youth have taken it upon themselves to carry on the movement of freedom against Indian aggression and atrocities.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses Parliament's joint session
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses Parliament’s joint session

He further said, “World powers need to ensure that UN resolutions on Kashmir should be implemented in letter and spirit.”

“We have done everything to make India come to the dialogue table, but india did not let it happen. Our efforts were thwarted over and over again.”

Touching on India’s allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in the India Uri base attack, Nawaz said: “Without any investigation within a few hours India put blamed Pakistan for the attack. Through this one can see what Indian motives are.

“On Sept 28, India’s ceasefire violation resulted in the death of our two soldiers. It was befittingly responded and was conveyed that Pakistan Army is fully capable to respond to any aggression.”

In an apparent response to Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s statement that India and Pakistan should battle to eradicate poverty, the PM said: “If they want us to fight them to end poverty, then they should realise that poverty cannot be ended by driving tanks on farmlands.”

Senior lawmakers of all political parties are attending, with the exception of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and chairman Imran Khan. Khan stunned both allies and critics when he announced on Tuesday his party’s intention to boycott the joint sitting of parliament over what he said is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s failure to present himself for accountability.

Read more: Opposition stunned as Imran announces parliament boycott

Party insiders told Dawn that while most PTI parliamentarians wanted to stay put in Parliament House to fight their case, the party chairman — supported by a group of unelected party leaders — decided otherwise.

During the session, other issues of national importance will be discussed.

Purpose of joint session

Earlier this week, the government sent a summary to the Presidency seeking President Mamnoon Hussain’s approval for holding a joint session of parliament to discuss the issue of ‘surgical strikes’ by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC).

Although Pakistan’s civil and military leadership has categorically denied any surgical strike by Indian forces, escalating tension on the LoC compelled Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to announce that the joint session of parliament would be held on Wednesday.

“The Joint session of Parliament will be convened on Wednesday to reaffirm the national resolve for safeguarding the sovereignty and preserving the territorial integrity of the motherland against any external or internal threat as well as reiterating the moral, political, and diplomatic support to the people of Kashmir,” Prime Minister Sharif said.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said that not only the violation of LoC by Indian forces would be discussed in the joint session the opposition would also raise the issue of what he called complete failure of the government’s foreign policy which had left Pakistan isolated across the world.

“We believe that the government’s foreign policy has completely failed and it should be revisited,” the opposition leader said.

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