Opposition parties heads decline to attend govt briefing on NAP: sources

ISLAMABAD: It is confirmed, a planned government briefing to parliamentary leaders on the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism, scheduled for March 28, was cancelled by the government.

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The reason for the cancellation was the opposition declined to participate owing to ‘political consideration.’

The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s spokesperson told a local news channel that PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif had declined to attend the meeting through a letter, while PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari and JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman had communicated their unavailability with the government via telephone.

The spokesperson claimed that they had all declined to attend due to their “political engagements”.

Qureshi had been tasked by the government to engage parliamentary heads, inviting them to attend the briefing on the steps taken so far in light of NAP against terrorists organizations.

The briefing was also expected to build consensus on the extension of military courts which were set up following 16 December, 2014— Army Public School, Peshawar massacre.

The government had formally initiated the process of consultations on NAP with opposition parties in mid-March.

The main opposition parties had been contemplating a boycott of the planned briefing due to prevailing tensions with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.

A source in the PPP earlier said that after the “brutal police action” against party workers gathered outside the Islamabad NAB office to show support for Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, it had become difficult for the leadership to sit with government functionaries at any forum.

Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif had urged the government to brief the whole parliament instead of convening a meeting of “selected leaders”, while the JUI-F chief had announced that his party had previously rejected NAP and therefore would not attend the scheduled briefing.

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