Monday, March 12, 2007

Khan on Afghanistan: no written report required says harper?

MP adviser Khan travels to Asia - again
CanWest News Service March 12, 2007

His first trip was embroiled in controversy and now Wajid Khan, the floor-crossing MP and prime minister's special adviser on the Middle East and Central Asia, is on his second trip to the region.

The Conservative MP, who defected from the Liberals in January, arrived Sunday in Afghanistan and will later travel to Pakistan.

"He's on a fact-finding visit to the region to gather information to advise the prime minister," said Alain Cacchione, a Foreign Affairs spokesman.

The four-day trip was made at the request of the prime minister, he added.

Few details about Khan's itinerary in Afghanistan can be released because of security reasons, Cacchione said.

Khan will meet with Canada's military personnel, but Cacchione could not say whether those meetings will be held at Kandahar airfield or elsewhere.

Khan is also scheduled to meet with Afghan government officials, non-governmental organizations, representatives of the international community and Canadian diplomats and development workers.

Then he will travel to his native Pakistan where he served in the air force before immigrating to Canada in the 1970s.

"In Pakistan he will meet with political leaders, parliamentarians and senior government officials to deliver important messages on regional security and democratic governance," Cacchione said.

Khan is not expected to prepare a written report on his trip, rather, he will discuss his findings directly with the prime minister, he said.

The last time Khan travelled abroad as the prime minister's special adviser he said he was going to write a report and make it public -- but then later refused to release it.

He also declined to appear before a parliamentary committee to discuss his $13,000 trip last fall to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.

After refusing to share the findings of his first trip, critics questioned the report's existence, or if the trip was a political inducement.

Harper defended Khan in January saying he "had dozens of private meetings with critical players" on his trip and produced a "thorough, thoughtful and very useful" report.

Khan approached the government in August, when he was still a Liberal, about assuming the adviser role, and the prime minister accepted. At the time, Khan said he had no intention of switching parties -- but he eventually crossed the floor in January.

MP off to Afghanistan, Pakistan - News - MP off to Afghanistan, Pakistan
Wajid Khan, PM's adviser on Middle East and Central Asia, will meet officials, diplomats but won't produce written repor

March 12, 2007 The Toronto Star Allan Woods Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA–Prime Minister Stephen Harper's special adviser on Middle Eastern and Central Asian affairs, Conservative MP Wajid Khan, is back on the road for four days of high-level meetings in Afghanistan and Pakistan with foreign officials, Canadian diplomats and soldiers.

But the government is taking steps to avoid a repeat of the controversy that dogged the Tory MP when he refused to release a report into a fact-finding mission in the Middle East last fall, as he had promised.

This time, the Mississauga MP simply won't produce a report.

"(Khan) will discuss his findings with the Prime Minister, but he is not expected to prepare a written report," said Alain Cacchione, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson.

The Conservative MP, who was first elected as a Liberal in 2004, is starting his trip in Afghanistan, where he'll meet government officials, diplomats, non-governmental organizations, and Canadian soldiers.

He'll later meet political leaders and government officials in Pakistan "to discuss issues concerning regional security and democratic governance."

The visit to Pakistan comes just weeks after Harper joined the United States to publicly criticize the ally for harbouring Taliban fighters along the porous border with Afghanistan.

Khan accepted the job as Harper's special adviser last summer when he was a Liberal MP.

In January, Khan crossed the floor to join the Conservative caucus.

The intrigue surrounding Khan's political defection ignited opposition critics, including some of his former Liberal benchmates, after the government refused to make public a report into Khan's 19-day trip in September to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon.

Khan had promised to table the report in the House of Commons for all MPs to read when he accepted the posting.

In February, Foreign Affairs officials revealed that Sam Hanson, a policy co-ordinator in the department's Middle East and North Africa Bureau, had assisted Khan in organizing and synthesizing the themes that emerged from the series of September meetings, the Canadian Press reported.

In response to an official request for a copy of Khan's report, bureaucrats responded that there were "no records related to your request."


Scott said...

What the @#%$! He doesn't have to prepare a written report after the Canadian taxpayers send him on an expensive trip to Asia? Who decided that, oh sorry, probably our lordship King Harper!

audacious said...

unbelievable isn't it ...

more like bush everyday ..