Lawmakers call for APC on dialogue with Balochs


The National Assembly on Friday unanimously passed two resolutions calling upon the government to constitute an All Parties Commission (APC) to reconcile with Baloch leadership and to review petroleum prices on a monthly basis.
The session was moderated by Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi.
Following the request by the Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the speaker suspended the rules of business. Both resolutions were tabled by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Zahid Hamid. The first resolution said that the APC shall establish communication lines with the estranged Baloch leaders and convey a desire of the House for political reconciliation in Balochistan. It noted the move would help improve the overall law and order situation in the province. It further added that the commission would submit its report within one month.
Chaudhry Nisar said the APC would supplement the efforts of the Parliamentary Committee already working for the resolution of problems faced by Balochistan. He said the commission should include members belonging to all parties including Jamaat-e-Islami‚ Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf and Baloch leaders. The second resolution, asking for a monthly review of oil prices stressed that the weekly review of prices had adverse impacts on the economy and the masses. The resolution also called upon the government to review the petroleum tax.
During the Question Answer session, the members of the house were informed that a strategy had been devised to restructure Pakistan Railways. Federal Minister for Railways Ghulam Ahmad Bilour said that a strategy had been sent to Cabinet Committee on restructuring of public sector enterprises that awaited approval, adding that a new board had been constituted for the improvement of Pakistan Railways.
Bilour stated that recently seven projects had been approved to help Pakistan Railways stand on its feet.
These, he said, include procurement of 275 new locomotives and repair and rehabilitation of dysfunctional locomotives. He said currently Pakistan Railways had 494 locomotives out of which 357 were dysfunctional which badly affected the operations of the institution. He said contracts had been signed for the repair of these locomotives.
To raise revenue, he said, private sector was being involved in different activities including the development of dry ports and commercial management of passenger trains. He told the house that three new dry Ports were being established in both the public and private sector out of which one had already been inaugurated at Prem Nagar.
He further said that two trains, Shalimar and Business Express had been outsourced and efforts were underway to outsource more trains. Responding to a question‚ Bilour said there was a proposal for the revival of Karachi Circular Railway with the assistance of Japan. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Nawabzada Malik Ammad Khan said that the House’s recommendations would continue to guide the future course of Pakistan’s relationship with the United States, one that stood on the basis of mutual respect and acknowledged Pakistan’s interests.
Khan said that the US had recently signed an agreement for providing funding of 67 million dollars for the up-gradation of the Peshawar-Torkham Highway.
Referring to drone attacks as illegal and violation of international laws‚ the minister for state said that Pakistan had forcefully raised the issue at international forums. He stated that recent cross border attacks from Afghanistan had also been rebutted and the issue was presented to Afghan authorities on several occasions. Khan further said that Pakistan had been able to establish good relations with all communities and leaders in Afghanistan. He added Pakistan had pledged over 300 million dollars for reconstruction and development in Afghanistan and had been working on various projects on health‚ education and infrastructure. The session was adjourned to meet again on Monday evening.