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Mohmand Dam: Awarding Rs309b contract to adviser wrong: Shahbaz

January 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif on floor of the National Assembly on Friday raised questions on award of Rs309 billion contract of Mohmand Dam to a company owned by government’s adviser and termed it incorrect as he demanded the Speaker to give his ruling on the issue and reiterated demand of the opposition parties of formation of committee of the House to probe the matter.

Speaking on a point of order, Shahbaz Sharif alleged that contract of Mohmand Dam had been awarded on single bid basis to a company which is owned by Abdul Razzak Dawood who is Adviser in the government, in violation of rules of the Public Procurement Regulator Authority (PPRA). “The PPRA rules say there will be re-bidding if a single bid is received for award of a contract,” he said.

The PML-N President said he had no personal grudge with Abdul Razzak Dawood but it was conflict of interests and matter was needed to be probed. “A committee of the House be formed to probe the entire matter and it should submit report to the House within a week,” he said.

The Opposition Leader said that begged money was being spent while blindfolding eyes. “People want to know as to where the money procured through loans, is being spent,” he said asking the chair to give ruling on the issue.

Shahbaz Sharif raised issue of award of Rs309 billion Mohmand Dam project to Abdul Razzak Dawood in the National Assembly earlier this week. “The bidding process started during the last PML-N tenure but it should matter of record that the contract has been awarded by the incumbent government,” he said.

He said the PML-N government did not accept single bid for award of contract of project of power plant and new bids were called. “We made a total saving of Rs160 billion in power plant projects,” he said.

The Opposition Leader wanted to continue his speech but he was interrupted by the Speaker Asad Qaisar reminding him that it was time of Juma prayers.

Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan said the Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda would take the House into confidence to remove concerns of the opposition members.

Earlier, talking to newsmen on arrival at the Parliament House, the Opposition Leader said the government did not consult the opposition while making appointment of two members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

To a question, he said removing name of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari from the Exit Control List (ECL) was a good omen but the government should have taken the decision earlier knowing the fact that verdict of the Supreme Court could not be ignored.

The National Assembly was informed on Friday that the government would forcefully raise Kashmir dispute as a humanitarian issue at the international level in order to unmask the Indian abuses in the occupied territory.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbass told the House during question hour that Kashmir Solidarity Day on 5th February would be observed this year not only in Pakistan but also abroad including London. She said the OIC has also been invited to organise a conference on Kashmir in Islamabad or any other place to highlight the plight of oppressed Kashmiri people.

The Parliamentary Secretary said Prime Minister Imran Khan raised the issue of recent Indian brutalities in the occupied Kashmir with the UN Secretary General adding that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during his address at the UN General Assembly session also exposed Indian abuses.

She said international activists including a delegation of British MPs have compiled their stories and reports on gross human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

The Parliamentary Secretary said 2018 was one of the deadliest years in occupied Kashmir in which Indian occupation forces killed more than 350 innocent Kashmiris and blinded and maimed many more including women and children.

The Parliamentary Secretary also condemned Indian provocations on the Line of Control. She said that Pakistan had repeatedly invited the UN inspectors to visit the LoC and see for themselves as to which country is violating the ceasefire. She said Indian propaganda of carrying out surgical strikes inside Pakistan was also negated by its own media as a mere drama.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbas said the present government has reset and reinvigorated relations with Saudi Arabia and UAE over the last five months. She said the agreements signed with both the countries are quite open. She said Saudi Arabia and UAE have provided balance of payment support package of three billion dollars each on concessionary rates. She said Saudi Arabia has also agreed to provide oil to Pakistan on deferred payment for three years.

The Parliamentary Secretary said Saudi Arabia has evinced interest to establish an oil refinery in Gwadar. She said this ten billion dollars investment will create job opportunities for our youth and help in the development of Gwadar.

Andleeb Abbass said UAE is also interested to invest in different sectors of the country. “We have also signed several agreements with China in diverse fields including science and technology which will help further strengthen relations with China,” she said.

In written reply to a question, the Foreign Minister said that Pakistan has rejected the unilateral decision of US State Department designating Pakistan as a country, a Particular Concern, which was made under a Religious Freedom Report. “We have, though diplomatic channels, conveyed to the US authorities the constitutional provision regarding protection of rights of minorities in Pakistan, reservation of special seats for minorities in Parliament, presence of an independent National Commission on Human Rights to address concerns of minorities and efforts by successive governments including establishment of legal and administrative mechanisms to safeguard rights of minorities in Pakistan,” the reply said.

The Minister said the government believed that the designation was clearly biased and politically motivated and still continues to engage US government and impress upon it that Pakistan is fully cognizant of the right of minorities.

Parliamentary Secretary for Textile Aliya Hamza Malik told the House that government is giving priority to bring value addition in the textile sector. She said the textile is contributing greatly to the economy and it will be developed on modern lines after consultations with the relevant stakeholders.

Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Shandana Gulzar Khan told the House that a new strategic trade policy framework is being evolved with focus on reducing cost of production and encouraging investment into export oriented sector. She said a national tariff policy is also being finalised with the aim to encourage value added exports of the country.

Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Fehmida Mirza said sports will be promoted in the erstwhile tribal areas with the cooperation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. She said the tribal people have great talent in different sports and this needs to be exploited by building sports infrastructure.

The House was also informed that human rights violations by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue unabated. According to media reports, during last five years, total number of innocent people martyred in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir is 1139 of which 375 were martyred during the year 2018.

The National Assembly also passed a resolution demanding that all the drought stricken districts of Balochistan be declared as calamity affected.

The resolution was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.

The resolution noted that the people of eighteen districts in Balochistan are facing great difficulty due to drought. Some people have also lost their lives as a result of situation prevailing in these districts.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said a national consultative workshop is being organised for the assistance of drought hit areas of Balochistan and Sindh. He said international donors will also be invited to attend the workshop.

He said the National Disaster Management Authority and provincial and district authorities are working to provide relief to the calamity hit people.

The National Assembly adopted a motion authorising the Speaker to constitute a committee of parliamentary leaders to regulate the conduct of members.