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May 15, 2019

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

Top Story

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.

The Committee held its meeting Tuesday with its Chairman Senator Abdul Rehman Malik in the chair here at the Parliament House and was attended among others by Senators Dr Shahzad Wasim, Kalsoom Parveen, Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Chaudhary Tanvir Khan, Sardar Shafique Tareen, and Haji Momin Khan Afiridi as members and Senator Gen (r) Abdul Qayyum, Senator Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar and Senator Rukhsana Zuberi as movers.

It was also attended by Federal Secretary Interior Ansar Shaikh, Mayor Metropolitan, Chairman CDA, Chairman and DG Nadra, DIG Security Islamabad Police, DIG KPK Police, SSP Abbotabad and other senior officials from CDA and Ministry of Interior.

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 – first at Pearl Continental Hotel Gwadar on Saturday wherein five people lost their lives and the second blast near a mosque in the Satellite Town Quetta on Monday night in which four police personnel were martyred.

The Committee offered Fateha for the departed souls and extended heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the bereaved families of the martyrs.

Senator Malik said “our hearts and souls are with the victim families of martyrs and we share their pains and sorrows”. He said that the new wave of terrorism is of great concern for us as behind such terrorist activities, the involvement of foreign hands cannot be ignored.

He said that it is time to review implementation status of National Action Plan (NAP). He stated that an exclusive meeting on one point agenda of NAP will be held soon. He directed that the Committee be inform as to when it will be possible for the ministry to brief about implementation status of NAP.

He 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 said that the matter was taken up in the meetings held on November 8, 2018, April 2, 2019 and April 24, 2019.

He had nominated Senator Mian Muhammad Ateeq Shaikh as Coordinator to solve the issues between CDA and MCI, with consultation of the Ministry of Interior and all other stakeholders amicably.

He stated that as per ICT Local Government Act, 2015, there were 37 directorates which were planned to be moved from CDA to MCI out of which 22 directorates have been transferred from CDA to MCI along with the staff.

There were 15 directorates which were to be transferred from CDA, he said, adding that the Secretary General of CBA of CDA Amanullah Khan was also given full chance to present his point of view.

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.

He also directed that a proper legislation be made covering all aspects and reservations of CDA employees as mentioned by the Secretary General, CBA of CDA.

Senator Malik further directed the Ministry of Interior to take immediate measures towards implementation on the recommendations of the Sub-Committee within 15 days and intimate the Committee accordingly.

The committee also asked Interior Ministry to share details of funds transferred by CDA to MCI with the committee.

The Chairman committee directed that the committee should be informed that how much funds would be transferred to MCI, he said, adding that funds should be transferred within 15 days to MCI.

A point of Public Importance regarding hurdles being faced by the people in issuance of CNIC all over the country was considered by the Committee.

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.