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> Parliamentary Delegation of Defence Committees meets the UK Minister of State for Defence
   Study Tour of Pakistan Parliamentary Defence Committee to the UK
UK Study Visit
April 27, 2009


London, April 27: The delegation of Pakistanís Parliamentary Defence Committees, which is currently visiting the UK House of Commons, met with the UK Minister of State for Armed Forces Rt. Hon. Bob Ainsworth, MP here in the UK Ministry of Defence today. A candid exchange of views on issues ranged from UKís involvement in Afghanistan, Pakistanís security concerns and issues, racial profiling of Pakistanis and the relationship of the Ministry with that of the Defence Committee took place in the meeting.


The Study Tour of the selected members and staff of the Defence Committees of the Parliament is facilitated by PILDAT. The Pakistan delegation is lead by Honouarble Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, MNA, Deputy Speaker National Assembly (NA-24 D.I.Khan, NWFP, PPPP) and includes Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, MNA; Chairperson National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence (NA-213 Nawabshah-I, Sindh, PPPP); Sardar Mehtab Ahmed Khan, MNA, Member National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence (NA-17 Abbottabad-I, NWFP, PML-N); Senator Prof. Khurshid Ahmad, Member Senate Standing Committee on Defence & Defence Production, (North West Frontier Province, MMA); Mr. Iftikharullah Babar, Additional Secretary, Senate of Pakistan, Secretary Senate Standing Committee on Defence & Defence Production; Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director and Ms. Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director of PILDAT.


Earlier, the delegation was briefed about the Parliamentary Committee system in the UK and received a briefing on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. The Pakistani delegation also interacted with the UK Parliamentarians including Mr. Edward Davey, MP, Lord Lee of Trafford, DL FCA, Baroness Hooper and Lord Ahmed of Rotherham. The Pakistani delegation will interact with the chairs and members of the House of Commons Defence Committee on Tuesday, April 28, 2009.


As a non-partisan political and independent think tank working to strengthen democracy and democratic institution in Pakistan, PILDAT considers strengthening the work of Parliamentary Committees as the most important element of strengthening Parliament, the key institution of governance. The Defence Committees of the Senate and the National Assembly hold a unique position in Pakistanís peculiar civil-military relations and are charged with the responsibility of oversight on the defence sector. Given PILDATís focus on improving civil-military relations in Pakistan, we feel that it is very important that Defence Committees are aided and strengthened so that they can engage in an effective and responsible parliamentary oversight of the Defence Sector.


The PILDAT Study Tour to United Kingdom for the key members and staff of the Parliamentary Defence Committee of Pakistan is facilitated in this backdrop. The Study Tour, that is taking place from April 26-30, 2009 is organised so that the key members of Pakistanís Parliament can interact with the Defence Committee of the House of Commons, UK and learn about the ways and means through which House of Commons engages in parliamentary oversight of the security sector in UK.


PILDAT has the invaluable support of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Ė CPA UK Branch in organising the meetings and facilitating other logistical details for the study tour in London. The study tour is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK through the British High Commission, Islamabad.