regarding the losses caused by the quake and he also said the proposals aired here would be conveyed to the government. He also said that sweet homes would be built for the orphans.
Others who spoke on the matter included PPP’s Ahmad, Hasan, Sirajul Haq of Jamaat-e-Islami, Nauman Wazir and Azam Swati of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Talah Mehmood of JUI-Fazl and Usman Kakar expressed concern over the impending rains and snowfall in the quake-hit areas. The House offered Fateha for the departed souls of quake victims, ex-federal minister Afzal Khan Lala and Yawar Saeed, a noted cricket official and father-in-law of Rabbani.
A private bill seeking to delete the provisions extending the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in department of provinces from the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 was moved in the Senate on Monday and referred to the standing committee for deliberations.
PPP Senator Taj Haider introduced the piece of legislation in the House, which met for its first sitting of the 121st session under the Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani. The bill says in its statement of objects and reasons that the 18th Amendment provides for greater autonomy of the federating units. The subject of anti-corruption is a residuary subject. There is a need to constitute autonomous accountability bureau at the level of provinces. Legislation to this effect is already under way in the provinces.
“It is therefore expedient that while the provincial accountability bureaus deal with cases within the respective provinces, the National Accountability Bureau performs its duties more diligently in the departments of federal government,” it says.
Rabbani announced that senators belonging to the MQM had withdrawn their resignations submitted in August this year under protest. He pointed out that there was reasonable material and circumstances available on the record to augment the perception that the resignations might not be voluntary and genuine and the true intention was not to vacate the seats.
The Senate chairman read out the ruling that was in relation to the ruling he had given on October 05 on the subject. “To conclusively decide the matter, once and for all, it would be fit, proper and expedient, if the government in consultation with all political parties represented in the parliament, amend the Constitution, to provide the procedure as outlined in my ruling on October 05, which would be in line with international practices,” he said.
Rabbani stated, ”Before concluding, I am conscious of the duty cast by the Constitution and with the concept of trichotomy of power that interpretation of the Constitution is a prerogative of the judiciary. Through this ruling, I have taken into consideration those provisions of the Constitution read with the Rules of Procedure, which pertains to, or deal with business before or pending in the House or matters ancillary thereto, connected with the functioning of the Senate Secretariat.”
Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq pointed out that it was on this day in 1917 that the British government wrote a letter to Jewish organisations expressing its approval for establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine. He noted this declaration sowed seeds of the Palestinian problem and people of Palestine were suffering from injustices till this day.
Rabbani remarked that injustices against Palestinians exposed double standards of the West. Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of MQM while referring to withdrawal of resignations by his party legislators, thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and MQM supremo Altaf Hussain for showing sagacity for parliamentary democracy.
He said the MQM had the highest regard for parliament and solidarity of Pakistan. The House adopted a resolution recommending to the government to announce a concession in customs duties and taxes for the importers of Balochistan.
Winding up the discussion on the resolution, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that several concessions had already been granted to Balochistan and the government would consider further concessions if recommended by the House. The House passed another resolution recommending that Keti Bunder Port in Sindh be included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The resolution was moved by Sassui Palijo of PPP. It also adopted a resolution recommending that all vacant posts in PIMS might be filled immediately while observing provincial and regional quota. The resolution was moved by Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel of PkMAP. Another resolution moved by Kalsoom Parveen of PML-N was also approved recommending to the government to take steps to ensure completion of all remaining projects under the Aghaz Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package.
The House held discussion on the situation arising out of fixation of high electricity tariffs operated by the IPPs and government sector. A motion to this effect was moved by Mohsin Aziz of PTI, who claimed that IPPs were ‘earning dollars 1.2 billion profit’ per annum by showing low efficiency and then selling oil in the open market, describing it as a robbery and white collar crime.
Senators wondered how some IPPs were allowed to pocket billions by fleecing losses when this corruption was known to the government, to parliament, to media and people of Pakistan.
During discussion on IPPs, Senators Nauman Wazir and PML-N’s Abdul Qayyum supported the controversial Kalabagh Dam. Nauman said his party was open to discussion on the project, cautioning against dumping it forever. Abdul Qayyum said the main reason behind why hydel power projects were not built was that these were politicised and taken to provincial assemblies for adoption of resolutions. He proposed that international experts should be invited to form their opinion on the merits of the proposed dam, as it was purely a technical issue. ANP’s Ilyas Bilour and Usman Kakar strongly opposed the dam, being a dead issue and said the project was for their destruction.
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