ISLAMABAD   -   The Senate Standing Committee on Defence on Friday expressed solidarity with the armed forces of the country who have been protecting the lives and safety of citizens against all internal and external threats.

The committee members also offered fateha for the departed souls of the army personnel and innocent unarmed civilians. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal here at the Parliament House.

It was attended among others by Senators Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum, Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar, Mushtaq Ahmed, Sajjad Hussain Turi, Mir Kabeer Ahmed Shahi, Javed Abbasi, Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chaudhry Tanvir Khan, Muhammad Ali Khan Saif, Nauman Wazir Khattak, Jehanzeb Jamaldini, Adbul Rehman Malik, Secretary Defence Ikram ul Haq, Additional Secretary Major General Imtiaz, Hamid Randhawa and senior officers from the ministry.

The meeting was given a detailed and comprehensive briefing on the role and functions of the ministry and its attached departments with the organisational structure and work ambit of the ministry was explicated upon.

The committee members observed that the present situation calls for discussion on the impact of deteriorating economic and exchange rate situation on our defence requirements under the prevailing circumstances.

The committee members while discussing the core areas of the ministry stressed for strengthening the media cell of the ministry so that it becomes the face of the defence narrative. The ministry officials told the committee that the national security policy and national defence policy are regularly reviewed and updated. The members called for taking the parliament on board while these documents are being prepared. The importance and need for a comparative regional analysis of the ministry of defence and their work functions was also discussed.

Regarding the reinstatement of five persons in Survey of Pakistan advocated by Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, the committee was told by the mover that originally 23 people were removed from their employment and 18 have been reinstated since the matter was taken up and the remaining five should also be treated so.

The officials told the committee about the issue in detail and said that the selection criteria was relaxed and trainings were imparted three times but even after these attempts, these five people hailing four from Balochistan and one from Punjab could not meet the criteria and hence were not given the job.

The ministry agreed to give the five people another chance and if they do not meet the criteria they will not be given further chance. The committee disposed of the matter on satisfaction of the committee and the mover. Some of the agenda items were discussed in-camera.