Pak Senators urge govt to withdraw from US-led coalition

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Islamabad, May 9 : Cutting across party lines, Pakistani Senators have reportedly urged the PPP-led coalition government to withdraw from the US-led so-called war against terrorism and make the foreign policy independent of American dictation.

They said this in a debate in the Senate to review the pro-US foreign policy initiated by the previous regime led by President Pervez Musharraf.

Demands for a change for the better also came from some members of the formerly ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML) although they praised the performance of their previous government and Musharraf, who made Pakistan a key ally of the US-led coalition in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The Opposition-sought debate, to be resumed on Friday, came 11 days after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the same house that the government would continue anti-terrorism cooperation with the US because "it is in our national interest" but would not compromise on national sovereignty by allowing foreign troops to operate inside its borders, reported the Dawn.

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) parliamentary leader Prof Khurshid Ahmed, pleaded for Pakistan's withdrawal from the US-led coalition, a review of what he saw as a policy of compromise over Kashmir and the Middle East and for strengthening political and economic ties with 'trusted friend' China.

JUI-F's Khalid Mahmood Soomro, who supports the PPP-led coalition, accused Musharraf of turning Pakistan 'practically into a colony of America' and asked the government to learn a lesson from neighbouring Iran to follow an independent foreign policy and 'put an end to the murder of innocent people'.

Another government ally ANP's Mohammad Adeel blamed the policies of military governments for what he called Pashtuns killing Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan and called for changes in both the foreign and domestic policies to put an end to this process.

Though no Senator from the PPP spoke on foreign policy leader of the house Raza Rabbani came out strongly against some of PML secretary-general Mushahid Hussain Syed's remarks in his debate-opening speech that described the PPP as a new partner of 'the establishment'. He said: "The PPP has never been, nor it is now nor it will become part of the establishment in the future."

ANI

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