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PM’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran to ease tension: NA informed

ISLAMABAD, 19 JAN, (DNA) – Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif has said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s talks with Saudi leaderships were very encouraging and there was a good response from Saudi Arabia.

Making a statement in the National Assembly on Tuesday, he said the Prime Minister is holding talks with the Iranian leadership today under the same spirit and hoped that the Prime Minister’s visit will be successful.

He said the aim of the visit is to defuse tensions between the two Muslim countries. It is also aimed to remove irritants emerged in the unity of Muslim Ummah.

He pointed out that Pakistan is playing a mediation role which is also a desire of Parliament.

Referring to 34-member coalition of Islamic countries, the Minister said it is still evolving and its scope and participation is being discussed.

Khawaja Asif said the alliance has no military objectives and aimed at to prepare a joint counter-terrorism narrative.

The Defence Minister said the United States is committed to provide eight F-16s to Pakistan.

He said US is providing to Pakistan F-16s for carrying out Anti-Terrorism activities keeping in view its success in airstrikes on sanctuaries of terrorists during operation Zarb-e-Azb.

Khawaja Asif said Pakistan is cooperating with Saudi Arabia in defence field under agreements signed between the two countries from time to time. He said Pakistan will respond effectively in case of any danger to the integrity and security of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on points of order, members appreciated the mediation efforts to defuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The Defence Minister said the United States is committed to provide eight F-16s to Pakistan.

He said US is providing to Pakistan F-16s for carrying out anti-terrorism activities keeping in view its success in airstrikes on sanctuaries of terrorists during operation Zarb-e-Azb.

Khawaja Asif said Pakistan is cooperating with Saudi Arabia in defence field under agreements signed between the two countries from time to time. He said Pakistan will respond effectively in case of any danger to the integrity and security of Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on points of order, members appreciated the mediation efforts to defuse tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Replying to points raised by different members, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said 34-member group is not an alliance but a coalition and it is still evolving.

He said it is voluntary for member countries to decide about its joining in different activities of the coalition.

The Adviser said Pakistan is included in all initiatives of counter-terrorism and has experienced in this regard which it want to share with other countries.

He said the Iran’s reaction was very positive to the Prime Minister’s visit.

Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan’s foreign policy is balanced and based on non-interference in internal affairs of others.

Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Dr. Darshan has said the government is taking a number of steps to control Hepatitis.

The Parliamentary Secretary said Prime Minister’s initiative in this regard was transferred to the provinces after the 18th Constitution Amendment. He said now the programme is being run under the respective Chief Ministers.

The Parliamentary Secretary said tablets have been introduced in place of injections which provide inexpensive and effective treatment of Hepatitis C.

To a question, he said Health Cards under Prime Minister’s National Health Programme have been issued in Islamabad and patients are taking benefits of this programme.

The House referred two bills, introduced by private members to the Standing Committees concerned for deliberation.

Responding to another call attention notice, Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid assured the House that matters relating to pension of retired employees of Lok Virsa will be resolved soon.

He said the board will hold its meeting tomorrow to discuss this issue.

The Information Minister said pension to retired employees of Lok Virsa is being paid through its self-generated funds.

A group of trainee Sub-Editors of Radio Pakistan led by their supervisors witnessed the proceedings of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The members welcomed them with the thumping of desks.

The visit was aimed at familiarizing the newly inducted Sub-Editors with parliamentary proceedings.

After witnessing the proceedings of the National Assembly, the internee sub-editors of Radio Pakistan held a brief interaction with Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz at Parliament House.

Sartaj Aziz appreciated that a comprehensive training is being given to the trainee sub-editors. He advised the trainees to work hard for success in life.

He said Radio Pakistan has produced a number of good journalists and broadcasters.

The House will now meet tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. =DNA






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