Lok Sabha Speaker invites Senate Chairman of Pakistan for PAC Centenary celebrations

New Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has invited the Speaker of the Senate of Pakistan to participate in the centenary celebrations of the creation of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee. The invitation has not yet been confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs, but other informed sources told that the letter sent to the Speaker of Pakistan’s Senate on August 24 was a routine gesture as Pakistan is part of the Commonwealth and has other members. The group is also likely to be a part of the festivities.

“As the Public Accounts Committee celebrates the 100th year of its visit, it will be an honor for us, if you can kindly be the guest of the Parliament of India and grace this historic event with your esteemed presence. are,” the letter said. Reported by Pakistani social media handle working with BOL TV.

The PAC is the oldest parliamentary committee on Indian legislative affairs and has been instrumental in upholding the principle of accountability as it monitors public expenditure, a key function of the democratic system.

India and Pakistan were engaged through backchannel talks between December 2020 and April 2021. According to reports published in Pakistan’s DAWN newspaper, intelligence officials from both sides met at least 5 times in the Gulf country during that period to discuss bilateral issues, especially Kashmir.

The talks were later influenced by developments in Afghanistan, where Pakistan-backed Taliban fighters gained the upper hand in the fight against the Afghan National Defense Forces, eventually overthrowing the government of President Ashraf Ghani on 15 August. India was forced to withdraw its diplomatic officers. The fall of the Ghani government.

The latest move also appears to be an attempt to engage the Pakistani establishment as Mr. Sanjrani is believed to represent the interests of Pakistan’s military elite.

Hailing from the troubled province of Balochistan, Mr. Sanjrani had been embroiled in controversies in the past. In August 2019, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) jointly accused him, an independent from Balochistan, of working for the government of PM Imran Khan.

The opposition jointly moved a motion accusing him of undermining the democratic processes of the Senate, but he escaped a no-confidence motion by a few votes. His three-year term ended on March 12, 2021, but he won a second term immediately, cementing his reputation of being backed by Imran Khan’s government.

Mr. Sanjrani’s visit is expected during December 4-5 when the events are due in Delhi, but his presence and interaction will be of interest especially due to the influence of Afghanistan visible in the spike in violence in Kashmir. . Mr. Sanjrani himself has in the past supported the Kashmir issue, saying that he would write to parliamentarians all over the world to highlight the alleged human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Kashmir.