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April 17, 2015

Special force being set up for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Senate told

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April 17, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was told on Thursday that a Special Security Division (SSD) was being set up for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, consisting of nine battalions of the army and six battalions of the civilian forces.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attended the Senate proceedings during the Question-Hour for about 30 minutes and his presence was welcomed by the Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani, who hoped the prime minister would continue taking interest in the proceedings in future too.
Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said the division would be deputed for the security of foreigners and Pakistanis working on the construction of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Lawmakers had raised the issue of Turbat attack while expressing concern over the security situation in Balochistan and wanted urgent steps for protection of people and ensuring security for the Pak-China Economic Corridor.
On the Turbat incident, the minister of state said an investigation committee had been constituted to probe the incident. Nine Levies personnel, who showed negligence while on duty, have been arrested and they are being interrogated by the committee to fix responsibility.
The minister pointed out that the retaliatory operation was carried out by security forces on intelligence reports. Later, the House for the first time, held discussion on the annual report of the Council of Common Interests for the year 2012-2013.
It was laid in the House on June 6 last year. The discussion lasted for almost three hours and 21 lawmakers took part in it.Majority of senators, belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, decried the fact that only three meetings of the constitutional body were held ever since PML-N formed government in June 2013 and that it was flagrant violation of the Constitution. They called for ensuring CCI meeting after every 90 days.
The senators strongly believed that the council could play a vital role in addressing grievances

of the smaller provinces and maintaining a decent relationship between the federation and the provinces. It was proposed that the council should have representation from AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan too.
Some senators found the council’s report disappointed and wanted its rejection by the House. They felt that the council had failed to harmonise and safeguard the rights of the smaller provinces. It was alleged that the constitutional body was functioning against the objectives for which it was formed.
Taking part in the discussion on the CCI report, Senator Farhatullah Babar called for taking up the issues of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the equal rights of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the federal government over oil and gas discovered in the province.
He said that the CCI after 18th amendment had fundamentally altered the power balance between federal government and the provinces but the provinces had not yet fully appreciated this huge shift of power in their favour.
Senators from Balochistan alleged that the council had failed to protect the rights of their province.BNP-Mengal Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldeni alleged that a selective approach was followed with regards to gas royalty in Balochistan and Sindh and that why should his province buy SSGCL ownership rights, which relied on gas being taken away from the province.
“When such genuine issues are not justly addressed and economic disparities are allowed to persist, hatred and anger rages,” he noted. He added there is charcoal business worth billions of dollars on Pak-Iran border but businessmen had to travel to Peshawar for obtaining challans and there existed no banks or other facilities at and near the border.
He alleged towers meant for power supply from Iran to Pakistan were never blasted but others targetted mostly during the crop harvesting seasons. He also noted that pipelines, which take gas to upward country are repaired within a day or two while others take many weeks.
Jehanzeb Jamaldeni claimed that those killed by the security forces on April 13 also included a crippled man.“Can a man on wheel-chair be among the attackers, who had gunne down labourers in Turbat,” the senator said.
Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada brushed aside the impression that the rights of the smaller provinces could be compromised in the council and said Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan chief ministers in no way would give in on their provinces interests.
He said that the council reports would be made better with the passage of time and the performance of the council would improve further to strengthen the federation.To another question Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said sixty-three locomotives were imported from China during the last five years.
He said seventy-five new locomotives will be manufactured to meet the growing demand in the country.The Senate also passed “The Securities Bill, 2015”. It provides to amend and consolidate law for the regulation of the securities industry and the protection of investors.
The bill was moved by Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman. Four Bills were introduced in the House on Wednesday.“The Seed Amendment Bill, 2015” provides to amend the Seed Act 1976. It was moved by Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Bosan. “The Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils (Amendment) Bill, 2015” provides to amend the legal practitioners and Bar Councils Act 1973. It was moved by Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights Pervaiz Rashid.
“The Credit Bureaus Bill, 2015” provides for the incorporation and functioning of credit bureaus and related matters. It was moved by Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman.
“The Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2015” provides to rationalize the local government system in the Federal Capital. It was moved by Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada.The chair referred the bills to the concerned committees of the House.

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