ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Thursday told the Senate that the joint sitting of parliament will finalise the policy guidelines in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump's anti-Pakistan remarks.

Soon after Foreign Affairs Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif concluded the debate in the Upper House on Trump's plan for Afghanistan and South Asia, the prime minister in his brief remarks said that either the joint sitting of the parliament or the National Assembly would finalise the policy guidelines.

He said that the cabinet discussed the matter for three hours on last Tuesday and National Security Committee (NSC) discussed it for some four hours.

Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani had earlier informed the Prime Minister that a Senate committee had been formed to frame recommendations to give the way forward after US President’s statement. He also asked the government not to prorogue the session today as the Committee was about to finalise its recommendations and the house would have to give final approval. 

Rabbani proposed that the recommendations should be taken to the joint sitting of the parliament for adoption. He also deplored that PTV being the state-owned television channel did not give live coverage to the house debate on Trump's remarks. He said that nation should know that the parliament was reflecting their thoughts. 

PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi regretted that the PTV could not telecast discussion on an important issue. He told the chair that he would give his response after seeking explanation as PTV was under instructions to cover proceedings of both the houses of the parliament.

The foreign minister in his concluding debate only chose to read out the press statement issued after the NSC meeting.

Later, the Prime Minister during an in-camera session wound up discussion on an adjournment motion regarding the implications of the decision of an arbitration tribunal of the world Bank’s international centre for settlement of investment disputes (ICSID), on the arbitration claims filed by Tethyan Copper Company against Pakistan in relation to the denial of a mining lease for the Reko Diq project.

Earlier, taking part in the discussion senators said that Pakistan as a frontline state in the war on terror had suffered the most. 

They said that the infrastructure of Pakistan badly suffered due to terrorists attacks that took place in the country following the then military ruler General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf’s complete surrender before the US. 

The members also hailed the reaction of international community following the irresponsible remarks of Trump. They also blasted US President  for not mentioning the human rights violations being committed by Indian occupation forces in the held Kashmir and encouraging India’s role in Afghanistan to allow it to use Afghan soil for subversive activities in Pakistan.

The lawmakers noted that the US had failed to achieve desired results in Afghanistan over the last sixteen years despite spending of a large amount of money.

Earlier during the question hour, the Interior Ministry in its written reply said that it was unaware about moves in the UN to impose sanctions on proscribed organisation, Jaish Muhammad (JeM) leader Maulana Masood Azhar that had been repeatedly blocked by China.

Senator Farhatullah Babar had asked whether such a move in the UN had been thwarted repeatedly and whether the Interior Ministry had any role in it. In his written reply, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal stated that his ministry was regularly briefed by intelligence agencies on the activities of proscribed organisations but the senator should ask a specific question against which organisation moves are being blocked.

“It is requested that the Honorable Senator should be specific in his question in order that the same be replied in clear and categorical terms,” the written reply of Ahsan Iqbal said.

Reports of China repeatedly blocking such moves in the UN have been widely reported in the media,  Farhatullah Babar  said and expressed surprise that despite receiving regular briefings from intelligence agencies on proscribed organizations, the ministry  was unaware of the move to protect JeM chief at the platform of UN.

If the minster is really ignorant even after regular briefings from agencies, will he now tell us whether and what action he proposes to take after becoming aware of this highly unusual move reminding also that recently we welcomed UN sanctions on an Afghanistan-based militant outfit. On the request of the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab who answered questions on behalf of Ahsan Iqbal, the question was deferred.