Senate of Pakistan

Minutes of the Meeting

August 9, 2012



A special meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production was held on 23rd July, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. in Committee Room No. 1, at the Parliament House, Islamabad. The Meeting was held to launch the Website and 1st Report of the Committee. Chairman Senate of Pakistan Honourable Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari was the Chief Guest who presided over the meeting alongwith Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Chairman SSC on Defence and Defence Production. The Chairman Senate and following Members / Senators attended the meeting:-

1) Hon. Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Chairman Senate of Pakistan     Chief Guest
2) Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed    Chairman Committee
3) Senator Farhatullah Babar     Member
4) Senator Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq    Member
5) Senator Col. ® Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi    Member
6) Senator Sehar Kamran    Member
7) Senator Talha Mahmood    Senator
8) Mr. Amjed Pervez, Special Secretary     Secretary Committee
Members of the Defence Reporters Forum and Special invitees from PILDAT attended the launch ceremony. Secretary Senate Mr. Iftikharullah Babar was also present.

2. The meeting started with the recitation from the Holy Quran by Mr. Amjed Pervez, Special Secretary / Secretary Committee who then asked the Chairman Committee for welcome address.

3. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed welcomed Chairman Senate of Pakistan Honorable Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari and other participants of the meeting. He said that the Defence Committee was the first to have its own website and to have produced a report within six weeks of its formation. Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that supremacy of the Parliament could not be ensured by words alone but through performance and leadership with new ideas, issues and initiatives. He said that Defence Committee would establish new Parliamentary traditions and wold seek guidance from all the stakeholders including defence and security institutions, think tanks, media and others to formulate solid recommendations to further strengthen the defence of the country.

4. The Chairman of the Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed apprised Honorable Chief Guest, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Chairman Senate, of Work Plan 2012 and other initiatives of the Committee, adding that a defence policy strategy document would be prepared annually to give specific proposals on how to promote harmony between the Khaki and Mufti, and to redefine some of the basic premises of national defence strategy in the light of new challenges and emerging ground realities. He said that regular defence briefings would be arranged for reporters and the Reports of the Committee would be presented bi-monthly. After a brief welcoming / introductory remarks, Chairman Committee requested Honorable Chairman Senate Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari to push the button to launch Committee Website. After launch of Committee Website, Chairman Committee Mushahid Hussain Sayed presented first Report of the Committee to Chairman Senate and gave the floor to Chairman Senate for brief speech and remarks.

5. The Chairman Senate, Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari extended his deepest appreciation and acknowledgment to all members of the Committee, especially its Chairman Mr. Mushahid Hussain Sayed and Secretary Committee Mr. Amjad Pervez, on a job well done. He said that the Defence Committee holds the unique distinction of being the first committee that presented its report within weeks of its formation and also launched an effective website.  

6. The Chairman Senate welcomed the initiatives because the Report and Website present a positive perspective on Pakistan’s resilient democracy and vibrant parliament. He also welcomed the representatives of the Defence Reporters Forum, saying he believed that media-parliament interaction is a positive development aiming at making the working of parliamentary committees more transparent.    Mentioning about the high profile and composition of the Defence Committee, the Chairman Senate said that although almost all Senate committees bring forth a collage of diverse political spectrum of the Upper House, the Defence Committee, in particular, accentuates this fact. The current committee is composed of eminent and towering political heavyweights, including both Leaders of the House and the Opposition as well as Honourable Deputy Chairman Senate, the Chairman Senate said. He expressed the hope that under the dynamic Chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, the Committee is poised to play a significant role.  

7. Mentioning about the first Report of the Committee, the Chairman Senate said that the valuable information regarding Drone warfare and the fact-sheet prepared by the Chairman Committee on the history of Civil-Military relations in Pakistan, bring forth an informative and factual depiction of key issues in their true perspective. The work plan of the committee is not less ambitious compared to its other lofty pursuits in sync with its stated commitment to pursuing transparency, parliamentary oversight and public accountability. This work plan would put the committee through its paces since it also envisages, inter alia, a comprehensive Annual Defence Policy and Strategy Paper by the year’s end; something he was eagerly looking forward to, the Chairman Senate said.

8. Syed Nayyar Hussain Bokhari said that other key initiatives taken by the Committee like formation of Defence Reporters’ Forum and its own website are also highly commendable for providing a mechanism to make its proceedings transparent and enhance its public outreach in line with the modern concept of a progressive, open and accountable parliament. However, it is the praiseworthy step of visiting families of the unfortunate Gayari sector incident martyrs that especially merits its mention here for setting a unique precedent, the Chairman Senate concluded.

9. Leader of the Opposition, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar appreciated the hard work done by Chairman of the Committee and a number of initiatives being taken. He expressed the hope that the Defence Committee will play important role and assured of all possible support on his own behalf and on behalf of the Members of the Opposition in the efforts of the Committee.

10. Senator Farhatullah Babar highly appreciated the initial steps of the Committee under the leadership of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed but underlined the need for maintaining the momentum. He proposed that articles and speeches of other Members of the Committee may also be included in the Committee Reports. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed immediately agreed to the proposal and said that formal request will be circulated among Members for the next Committee Report. Regarding apprehensions about maintaining the momentum, he said that although time will tell about it but based on his previous work as Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee and supported by excellent Members and staff, he was more than confident to further build on the achievements and momentum.  

11. Senator Sehar Kamran in her remarks said that she was proud to be Member of the Committee which has shown outstanding performance in short time. She said that the manner in which the Chairman of the Committee was leading in various initiatives was exemplary. She specifically mentioned the role assumed by the Chairman in bridging the civil military perceptions gap and safeguarding the reputation of the defence forces of Pakistan which she said were subjected to uncalled for criticism and nefarious propaganda.

12. Senator Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq said that the experience and professionalism of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed was helping the Committee in showing early results. He however, said that in the face of numerous challenges confronted by Pakistan, much more deeper and coordinated efforts were needed to safeguard the defence and security of Pakistan. He said that a wholesome policy was required to bring the country out of the crisis which was partly created by our own wrong policies but mainly by the countries of the region and the globe. He expressed the hope that the Committee will provide lead as a civilian elected representative body to come up with strategies and policies which will make its defence impregnable. Senator Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain said that the start of the Committee was very good and hoped that it will play a substantive role by contributing defence strategy and other policy documents. He said that some quarters were engaged in propaganda against Army and other defence forces which needed to be checked.

13. The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that he was fully alive to the need and the Committee would act as first line of defence and an air cover against the negative propaganda and media war fare. He said that it was a well established fact in modern war fare that battles of ideas, concepts and logics through the media were more effective then actual wars and that’s why the Committee has accepted the challenge of giving new ideas and fighting the case of Pakistan defence forces in and outside the country. He said that the work of the Committee would remain focused and thematic on Promoting Pakistan’s Defence through Development and Democracy.

(Amjed Pervez)                                                                 (Mushahid Hussain Sayed)
Special Secretary /Secretary Committee                               Chairman Committee


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