Dump the new suites for MPs, Nisar urges PM

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ISLAMABAD – The project for the construction of additional suites for parliamentarians at a cost of Rs 3 billion has become controversial even before construction started, as Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Nisar Ali Khan has asked the government to drop the project due to financial constraints.
The call came amidst questions over the transparency in the award of the contract for the project, as it has been given to a construction firm Habib Rafique Limited (HRL), reportedly owned by a close friend of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Nisar has expressed serious concern over spending a huge amount for luxurious accommodations for lawmakers.
The project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday. Nisar said the government had failed to provide shelter to the poor people hit by floods despite the passage of several months. He said the cash-starved government was spending Rs 3 billion to facilitate the privileged class, but doing little to mitigate the suffering of the poor.
Under the project, two new blocks would be constructed in the compound of Parliament Lodges, which will have 104 family suites for the legislators and 500 quarters for their servants. A spokesman of the Capital Development Authority strongly contradicted media reports regarding the award of contract to M/s Habib Rafiq (Pvt) Ltd, saying the group was the lowest bidder. A spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office said the government will respond to Chaudhry Nisar’s letter after it is received and seen by the prime minister.