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MS - Update on the Situation in Pakistan
#1
Mr Speaker,


With your permission I would like to update and inform the House on the situation in Pakistan following the tragic events in Islamabad. However, before I do so I'm sure the whole House will join me in expressing our deepest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives and our sympathy and commitment to deliver whatever aid we are able to, to those suffering from the fallout from this attack.

A nuclear device was ground detonated in Islamabad with a yield of between 60 and 75 kilotons a significant area is now expected to be impacted directly from the fallout of this attack from Rawalpindi to Mangwhal, as well as the successive effects that will come from the presence of the mushroom cloud over Islamabad. This means that getting significant humanitarian aid to survivors that were within the thermal radiation radius is essentially impossible, with fires that will likely rage for a very long time.

Mr Speaker, I also regret to inform the house that we have lost contact with the High Commission and as of this statement are unable to confirm the lose of life as a result of this attack. This attack has left Pakistan effectively without government and with no formal command structure for its military. This naturally poses significant risks, especially given the nature of this attack that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal could fall into the hands of fringe groups, such as the group that our intelligence suggests is responsible for this attack, the Pakistani Taliban. While I am unable to go into specifics, action is being taken alongside our international partners to ensure that the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan does not fall into the wrong hands and is secured.

Mr Speaker the government is now advising against all travel to Pakistan and is coordinating on extracting British citizens from the country as swiftly and as safely as possible. The government shall provide updates to the House on our progress on that matter as needed.

I can also confirm that India has mobilised its armed forces and has, in the absence of a central Pakistani authority, secured the region of Kashmir. While the government's position is for every state actor in the region to act with caution and care, especially in disputed areas such as Kashmir, we are liaising with the Indian government to ensure that operations we and our allies potentially participate in are not interfered with accidentally by their armed forces.

Furthermore Mr Speaker, the Pakistani Taliban, in the wake of this heinous and abhorrent attack has declared the formation of an illegitimate state covering the area known as the FATA, parts of Balochistan and parts of Kashmir, with its declared capital in Quetta in the Balochistan region. This illegitimate state, born in the heat of that nuclear device, must not be allowed to stand. Its leaders must and will be brought to justice, we will be looking at all options going forward in order to fulfil that aim and will present our plan for scrutiny in due course.

Mr Speaker, this is a terror attack unlike any other we've encountered, I understand that there is consternation and uncertainty in response, but let me be clear for the House, those watching our proceedings today, we will do everything in our power to protect this country and to prevent anything like this happening again anywhere in the world. I would also like to reassure this House and the public that there is no credible intelligence suggesting such an attack is imminent on British soil and that people should continue to live their lives as they normally would. The Pakistani Taliban has crossed a line that once crossed, it is impossible to return from, the most disgusting kind of criminal act using the most destructive weapons known to us. I hope the House joins me in expressing our disgust and disdain for those responsible and commit here and now to doing whatever necessary to ensure that the region comes to a just peace in the wake of this.

Bearing this in mind Mr Speaker, I must inform the house that we are engaging in an operation to evacuate British forces from Pakistan as quickly as possible and to provide as much humanitarian assistance as we can effectively deliver. There are on going assessments that in the short future will indicate what future action needs to be undertaken in order to stabilise the region as quickly as possible.

Mr Speaker, I will close my remarks by saying this, we have as a country overcome some of the toughest challenges that could be thrown at a nation. At times it would have been easy to despair at the scale of the challenges before. If we were able to meet those challenges at a time when we were least able, we can and shall do it again. I will keep the House updated as the situation unfolds.
Labour MP for Nottingham South (2010-)
Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security, Housing, and Employment (2019-)
Campaigning Guru/Fundraising Extraordinaire/Maverick
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#2
Mr.Speaker,

I would like to thank the Prime Minister for Her handling of this unfathomable situation which she has been thrown into so shortly into her administration, and for the professional and upfront way she has briefed the house on this matter. I'd also like to give my condolences to the citizens of Pakistan whose suffering due to this heinous act of unprovoked terrorism is sadly just beginning. With that said Mr.Speaker, I do have a couple of question for the Prime Minister that I hope she will further enlighten the house upon, firstly Mr.Speaker
The Prime Minister stated just now that "This illegitimate state, born in the heat of that nuclear device, must not be allowed to stand. Its leaders must and will be brought to justice, we will be looking at all options going forward in order to fulfill that aim and will present our plan for scrutiny in due course." Does this mean that we will be sending troops to fight the Taliban in Pakistan now, or removing troops from Afghanistan to fight in Pakistan, or will we be looking for a more diplomatic approach to deal with the Taliban? And if it is the military option when can we expect troop estimates to be presented by the government?

Mr.Speaker, With India moving into Kashmir is there any fear that remaining Pakistani radicals especially within the military may try to fight back against India, or that the Taliban may use another nuclear weapon in Kashmir to secure it's illegitimate state? And will we be sending troops into Kashmir to attempt to keep the peace there?

My final question for now Mr.Speaker is, without jeopardizing any operation in place can the Prime Minister confirm or deny that we have a group of moderates we are attempting to help prop up to rebuild the shattered Pakistani government?

I would like to once again thank the Prime Minister for her update and wish her the best in dealing with the historic events that are about to unfold.
Mitch Un MP Rhondda (1997-Present)
Traits: Campaign Guru, Socially Unaware
Future Overlord of Britain and Europe
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#3
Mr Speaker,

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Right Honorable gentleman for the courteous way in which he has conducted himself in difficult circumstances not just for us in here looking on at the destruction, but for many of our constituents who have families in Pakistan and for the people of the country.

To take each of his queries in turn, I cannot speak about specifics in this chamber without potentially compromising certain operations, but options are being looked at in terms of troop deployment in the region and we shall update the House as soon as the facts on the ground can be established clearly and then the course of action set. I want this process to be as transparent as possible, especially given recent experiences in this House. I can simply say this, that while I am a big believer in diplomatic solutions, I don't believe one can be had with the Pakistani Taliban especially while the arrow of blame clearly points in their direction for the attack in Islamabad.

Turning to the next question, Mr Speaker, I can confirm that through our allies in the US we are in close communication with the Indian government on Kashmir and will be impressing upon them the need to show restraint especially given the contentious nature of the Kashmir dispute historically and the unique events unfolding in Pakistan. We will be discussing with our allies the best course of action to ensure that some kind of order and peace is maintained in Kashmir going forward.

Finally Mr Speaker, we are still assessing options in Pakistan in terms of potentially propping up the Pakistani government and any such decision will be made very carefully given the delicate nature of the situation.
Labour MP for Nottingham South (2010-)
Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security, Housing, and Employment (2019-)
Campaigning Guru/Fundraising Extraordinaire/Maverick
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#4
I thank the Prime Minister for her statement, the House shall now consider other matters
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#5
It feels almost wrong to mark this in terms of winners and losers, the public don't really care about that when a mushroom cloud kills thousands including hundreds of Brits. This statement is succinct and delivers the facts well, especially with regards to classified intel which could not be revealed. Havard asks good questions that make him look in command of his brief and the PM answers them well. I'm going to say that nobody wins, but give Hunter and Havard 2xp each for looking great and clever.
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