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Agencies
October 27, 2017

Cost of shifting GHQ to Islamabad increases by Rs30 bn,Senate body told

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Agencies
October 27, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Senate’s Standing Committee on Defence on Thursday was briefed on shifting of the General Headquarters (GHQ) from Rawalpindi to Islamabad.

It was told that the new GHQ facility would be established on 2,450 acres in sectors E-10 and D-11, adjacent to Naval and Air Headquarters in sectors E-8 and E-9. The committee was informed that Rs100 billion would be spent on the new GHQ facility. It was told that the cost has been increased by Rs30 billion and this amount will be collected by sale of military land.

Secretary Defence Zamirul Hassan Shah told the committee that India had committed around 1,299 ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LOC) and Working Boundary during 2017, stating that the number is the highest ever.

The meeting of the committee was held here at the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) with Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed in the chair. Besides others, the meeting was attended by senators Hidayat Ullah, Atta ur Rehman, MuhammadJaved Abbasi, Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum, Sehar Kamran and Brig (retd) John Kenneth Williams.

The secretary defence told the meeting that Indian forces were deliberately targeting the civilian population. He said the UN observers could only access the LoC from the Pakistani side, whereas India was not allowing them from its side. Zamirul Hassan said that killing of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) chief Umar Khalid Khorasani had not been  confirmed yet. According to  reports Khorasani was killed in a recent US drone strike but the Defence Secretary that the news of JuA leader had not been verified. He also denied any US drone strike in Pakistani territory in the recent past.

Briefing the committee members on security along the Pak-Afghan border, he said that during 2017 around 307 terrorist acts were carried out in Pakistan from across the border and as result 27 causalities occurred. He said that 73 new Frontier Corps wings were being raised at the Pak-Afghan border, whereas 29 had already been established. He said 700 new border posts were being established, while construction of security fence along the border was also underway. Crossing control mechanism along the notified routes was also under process, he said.

He informed that out of 2611km Pak-Afghan border, around 2075km was fence-able, adding that the fencing would be completed in two years and it would cost 0.56 billion US dollars. He said at Pak-Afghan border there were 76 routes and out of those only 16 were notified.

He said currently less than 50 percent of Afghanistan territory was under the Afghan government’s control, while the rest was in the control of non-state actors. He said Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s recent visit to Kabul had been successful as he held important talks with the Afghan leadership.

The Committee also decided to move a motion in the Senate, asking the government to seek compensation for the innocent Pakistanis, who  became victims of drone strikes. Besides, the Committee passed a resolution to express solidarity with Kashmiri people, who are demanding their legitimate right of freedom from India. –