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NA clarifies PM Khan's absence from security briefing

03 Jul, 2021
The Prime Minister was ready to attend the meeting but chose not to based on opposition members reservations, according to the National Assembly. Reuters
The Prime Minister was ready to attend the meeting but chose not to based on opposition members reservations, according to the National Assembly. Reuters

There's been much criticism of Prime Minister Imran Khan's absence from Thursday's security briefing in Parliament. The National Assembly responded to the criticism in a tweet Friday evening explaining that due to certain opposition members' reservations about his presence, the prime minister chose to abstain.

The reservations were expressed to the Assembly secretariat, the tweet said. However, it did not name any leader.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security on Thursday was briefed on matters of security, both internal as well as the situation in Afghanistan. In addition to the 29 members of the committee, some 16 legislators were specially invited to the meeting to hear the briefing from DG ISI Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa also attended.

Much was made of the Prime Minister's absence, especially on prime time TV circuit that evening.

According to information minister Fawad Chaudhry on a morning show on Friday, Khan did not attend because opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif sent a message to Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser saying the opposition would stage a walk out.

"The prime minister thought that there is no need of a walkout and you people can attend and I won't come," he told the morning show hosts.

Spokesperson for the PML-N Marriyum Aurangzeb denied the charge in a tweet posting an image of the invitees to the meeting which did not include Khan's name.

The Prime Minister's office itself has not yet responded to the claims.