ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister’s Advisor on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Wednesday expressed the hope that UN resolution urging the US to take into account the international human rights in its drone attacks would help strengthen Pakistan’s position on the issue.
Winding up discussion on foreign policy, he informed the Senate that Pakistan has been raising the issue drone attacks with the US but to no avail, adding that after the UN resolution Pakistan’s standpoint about the US drone attacks would certainly strengthened. Sartaj said that main focus of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to improve relations with its neighbours and dismissed the notion that Pakistan would be isolated in view of the changing geopolitical dynamics in the region. He was of the view that relations with country’s neighbours including Afghanistan and India are much better than they were six months ago and hoped that these relations would further improve in the days to come.
On Afghanistan, he said Pakistan is following a policy of non-interference that has help in improving the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries. He said the Prime Minister’s meeting with Afghan President and steps being taken by the two countries would help promote peace and stability in Afghanistan. On Pakistan-India relations, he said all avenues were being used to normalize bilateral relations with India and hoped that composite dialogue process between the two nuclear neighbours would resume without further delay. On Pakistan relations with the United States, he said relations between the two countries are on the positive trajectory and hoped that strategic dialogue process would start in January or February to further improve ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Likewise, relations with European Union and Russia are on positive trajectory, he said adding that relations with China and Muslim countries are excellent. He said that a National Security Policy is being formulated in consultation with other stakeholders to address the forthcoming major challenges in view of the changing situation in the region.  He said that unlike in the past the present government was working hard to devise the national security policy in a transparent manner so that it could address both external and internal security challenges.
Members of the House on both sides observed pen down silence while Sartaj Aziz was delivering his speech.
Earlier, a number of senators including Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsen, Mohsin Khan Leghari, Zahid Khan and Hafiz Hamdullah spoke on the Foreign Policy of the country. In another development, Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar Wednesday also made a policy statement on government’s economic policy.
He informed the House that the government of Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had saved 14 percent interest amount being paid on delay in the payment of Rs 500 billion circular debt to Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and others left by the previous government.
Giving a policy statement to clarify the government stance on payment of circular debt , he said, the government has saved Rs 67.2 billion per annum interest to be paid on the nonpayment of the (accumulated) circular debt to the IPPs and others. He said the payment of the circular debt helped in adding over 1700 MW of electricity in the national grid. The payment of circular debt has also ensured 7 percent growth in industrial production from June to July 2013 due to end of load shedding.
Expressing his annoyance over the propaganda of the opposition, he said, the amount of circular debt is being twisted.
The details of Rs 480 billion have been placed on the website of the Ministry of Finance. He said a total of Rs 503 billion circular debt was due including Rs 23 billion liquidity damages.
Giving the details of circular debt payment, he said the government has only paid Rs 59 billion cash to IPPs and others.
An amount of Rs 128 billion has been arranged from Pakistan Investment Bonds, Rs 135 billion has been arranged by imposing a cut on the expenditures of the ministries.  An amount of Rs 20 billion, he said, has been gathered from dividends of Public Sector Organisations and Rs 138 billion has been arranged from recoveries of the defaulting institutions.
Regarding agreements inked with the International Monitory Fund (IMF), he said, the agreements have been placed on the website of the ministry.
He said nine IPPs had filed cases in Supreme Court against the nonpayment of Rs 503 billion while loadshedding up to 17 hours continued in the country due to the non-payment of the circular debt by the previous government.
The Minister said further details of the circular debt can be checked from the Ministry of Water and Power as the government believes in transparency and wanted to share information with masses.
He informed the house that GDP growth has increased from 2.9 percent to about 5 percent of the first quarter of the current fiscal year.  He regretted that the PPP government had failed to achieve target of tax.
He said budget deficit has also been reduced to 2.2 percent from 2.9 percent. Stock Exchange has registered 27 percent increase due to steps taken by the government. He added that the government soon after assuming charge abolished secret funds of 32 departments. The government has also imposed ban on the officials to become members of boards of more than one institution.   The minister informed the house that former finance minister without following the set procedure increased the salary of Deputy Governor State Bank from 0.75 million to 1.5 million.
He said governor of the State Bank was also allowed to purchase bulletproof vehicles without following procedure. The minister said the government took these two orders back. Responding to the speech of the Finance Minister, Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsen said that PML-N government has failed to give any economic relief to the poor masses of the country as common man has been squeezed to eat his two times meal.  Earlier, the Senate was informed today that to curb grey traffic‚ “Grey Traffic Mitigation System” has been deployed for monitoring and reconciliation of international telephone traffic.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch told the House during the question hour that the system is capable to automatically block those Internal Protocol addresses, which are not in the authorized White List.
Responding to a question‚ the Minister said 399 people were died and 599 others injured in the recent earthquake in Balochistan. He assured the House that each and every house destroyed in the earthquake will be rebuilt. Replying to a question‚ the Minister said the government has a plan to privatize 26 percent shares of PIA. He said in order to improve airline’s overall viability; PIA has adopted two-fold strategy of Cost Curtailment and Revenue Enhancement.  The House was adjourned till Thursday.