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May 15, 2019

MoU for firing range at US Embassy cancelled, Senate body told

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May 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Secretary Interior Ministry has informed the Senate Committee on Interior that the Interior Ministry has cancelled permission of firing range for the Embassy of the United States.

The Senate Committee has asked Inspector General, Islamabad, to hold an inquiry and submit a report on the hidden motives behind signing of such agreement and discarding the same lately and asked the Secretary Interior to also submit a detailed report in this regard.

Senator Malik apprised the members that he had taken suo moto notice of the matter on April 22. He said that he had directed the Ministry of Interior and Chief Commissioner Islamabad to investigate the matter and submit detailed report on it to the Committee.

He said that the CDA has provided a report regarding allotment of land to the US Embassy. He said that in this regard letter was also written to Ministry of Interior, Islamabad to report on the matter but report not received.

Senator Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum told the committee that he had taken to the House the matter of designing and construction of firing range in the Diplomatic Enclave, Islamabad. He said that an advertisement was floated on the website of American Embassy for the renovation of the firing range amounting to $1 lac-2.5 lac and the firms were asked to submit their bids for the same.

Senator Malik apprised the members that he had taken up the matter with Secretary Interior and it was revealed that the police firing range was located outside the boundary of Diplomatic Enclave, established for the training of their personnel and the idea was to upgrade the said firing range. Consequently, the Ministry of Interior signed a MoU by mistake. He further professed that such an MoU was not in order and no such MoU can be signed without the consent from Cabinet Division.

He also took cognizance of signing of MoU with American Embassy. In response, they officials concerned said that the said MoU for taking help of Americans has been cancelled. The members raised their concerns upon construction of any firing range in precincts of Diplomatic Enclave.

The Committee Chairman asked the Inspector General, Islamabad, to hold an inquiry and submit a report on the hidden motives behind signing of the agreement and discarding of the same lately.

Senator Malik said that the committee expresses its deep concerns on the issue of missing persons and it has already sought out a report from the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances.

He said that the committee fully supports and stands by the families of the missing persons and will be pursuing the issue. The Committee also expressed concerns over missing persons. “We are standing firm by families of missing persons and equally share their grief,” he said, adding that it was stated following Gawadar attack a missing person namely Hamal Khan was among the attackers and later it was revealed that the news was fake.

He said that he, then Interior Minister, constituted the Commission of Enquiry on Enforced Disappearances. He said that the Commission has already submitted its report on the missing persons in the previous meeting of the Committee, according to which more than 90% missing persons have been recovered so far.

The Senate Committee has strongly condemned two terrorist attacks in Balochistan within three days. Malik also directed the security of sensitive and public places across the country particularly in Balochistan to avoid recurrence of terrorist incidents. The Committee discussed longstanding administrative, financial and legal issues between Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI).

Secretary Interior Major (R) Azam Suleman Khan while briefing the committee about MCI said that Local Government Act, 2015 has so far not been implemented. He added that the matter had been forwarded to former interior minister and then sent to federal cabinet.

Senator Malik presented in the meeting a report which was compiled by Coordinator Sub-Committee and the report was adopted unanimously by the Committee.

The Chairman Committee directed that there should be a proper guarantee/ coverage be given to the benefits/ facilities of the employees entitled under the policy of CDA. He directed that the employees of CDA should not be transferred to MCI without their consent according to Rule-115 (3) of ICT Local Government Act, 2015.

The Committee was briefed in detail by Chairman Nadra Usman Mobin. He informed the committee that over 200,000 applicants file application for obtaining CNIC and Nadra issued 68000 CNICs to applicants on daily basis.

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