Qureshi to brief Senate on Kashmir issue


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan Swati Monday told the Senate that Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi would brief the House on the latest situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).

Responding to a point of order raised by Raza Rabbani, he said Shah Mehmood Qureshi would come to the Upper House of Parliament to give a briefing on the IOJ&K situation.

Swati said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an enemy of humanity.“We will not spare Modi.” Foreign Affairs Minister Qureshi was fighting for the cause of Kashmiris and the whole nation was with him, he added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party’s Sassui Palijo moved the bill to further amend the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Ordinance 2002 [The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2017] and for its consideration in a joint sitting. The bill was passed by the Senate and transmitted to the National Assembly but not passed by the lower house within 90 days of its laying.

Bahramand Khan Tangi of the PPP moved the resolution for shifting the headquarters of Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) from Lahore to Islamabad.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz said the mover should give reasons for shifting of the headquarters of SNGPL from Lahore to Islamabad. He said earlier the opposition had opposed the shifting of headquarters of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) from Karachi to Islamabad.  Mushtaq Ahmed and Usman Karar supported the motion saying as Islamabad was the capital and centre for the country, so headquarters of departments should be shifted to Islamabad.

Jehanzeb Jamaldini said the issue should be discussed in a logical way and for a proper and comprehensive debate, the matter should be taken up in the relevant committee. Mohsin Aziz and Nauman Wazir did not agree with the arguments of opposition members, and opposed the move. They said it was not the right approach to shift all the headquarters to Islamabad.

Murtaza Javed Abbasi too did not support the move while Mir Kabeer Muhammad Shahi said head office of the gas company should be shifted to Quetta. On the insistence of senators, Bahramand Tangi withdrew his resolution.

The House approved the resolution of Sana Jamali with the recommendation that the government should take necessary steps to complete the Kacchi Canal project in Balochistan at the earliest.

The House also approved the recommendation of Khushbakht Shujaat to the government for taking necessary steps to include the subject of Road Safety Awareness in the curriculum of educational institutions under the administrative control of the federal government.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the government would initiate an awareness programme for the safety of road users.

The House approved the resolution of Muhammad Sabir Shah to upgrade the cricket stadium functioning under the administrative control of Pakistan Cricket Board in Abbottabad to bring it at par with international standards.

Ghous Muhammad Niazi moved a motion on creating structured linkages among members of the Senate and their constituents in provincial assemblies and in that way safeguard and protect the rights and interests of the federating units and ensure the provincial autonomy granted by the 1973 Constitution.

The members agreed that senators and members of provincial assemblies should sit together and discuss the matters related to provinces.

Mushtaq Ahmed underlined the need for linkages among senators and public representatives including chief ministers of provinces.

Usman Kakar said all the parties should be given representation in a meeting of senators with provincial legislators.

Minister Azam Swati recalled that once a committee of senators and members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly resolved the issue of hydel net profit of the province.

He said the Punjab Assembly had requested the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs to help in improving its rules of business.

Jehanzeb moved a motion on the situation arising out of non establishment of tourist resorts in the coastal areas of Balochistan and Hangool National Park.

Mir Kabir said tourism facilities should be established in areas of Ziarat, Turbat and Gwadar, adding tourism would strengthen the economy.

Sassui Palijo said eco-tourism could be promoted in coastal areas. Basic facilities like water in Gwadar should be ensured. She expressed worry over the cut in development funds for provinces. Minister Azam Swati said the government was focusing on promoting tourism, adding tourism was important for strong economy and security and infrastructure needed to be improved to attract tourists.

The House discussed a motion of Sassui Palijo on the issue of syllabus prescribed for the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination. The Senate chairman referred the matter to the committee.

On a motion of Usman Kakar, the senators discussed the issue of food insecurity in the country especially in Balochistan. He said 70 percent people in Balochistan were living below the poverty line despite the fact that the province was blessed with different kinds of natural resources.

Minister for Food Security Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said the budget for agriculture, after devolution of powers of provinces had decreased.

The government had initiated 13 projects for different sectors of agriculture including livestock and poultry, he added.

He said five million hens would be distributed to people in all the provinces so that people could have enough meat and eggs.