–Shehbaz Sharif says award of Rs309bn contract to company of PM’s adviser merits investigation
–NA passes resolution declaring Balochistan ‘calamity-stricken’
–PM has raised Kashmir issue with UN secretary general, House told
ISLAMABAD: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Friday demanded that a parliamentary committee be formed to investigate the contract awarded for the construction of Mohmand Dam.
The bid for the construction of the Rs309 billion dam was awarded to a joint venture between China’s Gezhouba and Descon Engineering that is owned by PM’s Adviser on Commerce, Textile, Industry and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood.
“We do not have any personal problem with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s adviser Abdul Razak Dawood. The speaker should give a ruling on the issue of awarding the contract for the construction of Mohmand Dam,” Shehbaz said while addressing the National Assembly session.
“A Rs309bn project is being awarded on a single bid. As per Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, if there is only one bidder then the bidding should be conducted again or should be checked with the market if the offer is appropriate. Thus, I demand that a parliamentary committee is immediately formed over this matter,” the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president added.
“Nation’s borrowed money is being spent blindly. The nation has a right to know where their money is being spent,” he said, adding that a report on the matter must also be presented and discussed in the Lower House.
The Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) chairman had previously confirmed that the Descon-China Gezhouba joint venture had been awarded the contract for the construction of Mohmand Dam.
‘CALAMITY HIT’ BALOCHISTAN:
The House also passed a resolution demanding that all the drought-stricken districts of Balochistan are declared calamity-affected.
The resolution, moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan noted that the people of 18 districts in Balochistan are facing great difficulties due to drought.
Some people have also lost their lives as a result of the situation, it noted. Khan said that a national consultative workshop is being organised for the assistance of drought-hit areas of Balochistan and Sindh. He added that international donors will also be invited to attend the workshop.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and provincial and district authorities are working to provide relief to the calamity-hit people, he assured.
Earlier, the House was informed that the government has decided to raise Kashmir dispute as a humanitarian issue at the international level in order to unmask Indian abuses in the occupied territory.
Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andleeb Abbass told the House that Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 will be observed this year not only in Pakistan but also in other countries.
She said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has also invited the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to organise a conference on Kashmir in Islamabad or any other place to highlight the plight of the oppressed Kashmiri people.
The parliamentary secretary said Prime Minister Imran Khan has raised the issue of Indian brutalities in Occupied Kashmir with the UN secretary general, adding that Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had also exposed the Indian human rights abuses during his address at the UN General Assembly session.
International activists, including a delegation of British Members of Parliament (MPs), have compiled their stories and reports on gross human rights violations in occupied Kashmir, she added.
She said that 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.
She said Indian propaganda of carrying out surgical strikes inside Pakistan was also negated by its own media as a mere drama.
‘RESET RELATIONS WITH SAUDIA, UAE’:
Andleeb Abbas also 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 a balance of support payment 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.
Abbas told the House that Saudi Arabia has shown interest to establish an oil refinery in Gwadar, adding that the foreign investment will create job opportunities for our youth and help in the development of Gwadar.
VALUE ADDITION IN TEXTILES:
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 a focus on reducing the cost of production and encouraging investment into the export-oriented sector.
She said a national tariff policy is also being finalized with the aim to encourage value-added exports of the country.
Responding to a calling attention notice pertaining to the grievances of farmers for untimely export vegetables and fruits, Parliamentary Secretary for Commerce Shandana Gulzar Khan said the federal government is holding negotiations Punjab government to provide relief to the potato farmers.
She said there has been a surplus production of potato this year and steps will be taken to protect the interest of the farmers.
She said the commerce ministry is also striving to encourage investment in agro-food and yesterday’s announcement of investment amounting to two million dollars by Cargill is a testimony to the efforts made by her ministry.
The parliamentary secretary told the House that fruits’ exports rose by 22.8 and vegetables by 47.9 pc last year.
HUMAN HAIR EXPORTS:
Further, the commerce secretary informed the House that Pakistan has exported human hair worth $1.6 million in the last five years.
She told that Pakistan supplies hair to several countries including China, US and UAE.
During the briefing, she said 105,461 kilogrammes of human hair was exported to China worth $132,000 in the last five years.
The export of human hair which is used in wigs witnessed a decline in 2016-17 owing to a decline in the number of cancer patients, the secretary said.
SPORTS IN TRIBAL AREAS:
Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Fehmida Mirza said sports will be promoted in the erstwhile tribal areas with the cooperation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government.
She said the tribal people have great talent in different sports and this needs to be exploited by building sports infrastructure.
The National Assembly adopted a motion authorizing the Speaker to constitute a committee of parliamentary leaders to regulate the conduct of members. The motion to this effect was moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan.
The committee will oversee and examine the matters relating to the conduct of members as per rules and practices. It will examine complaints concerning the alleged breach of the code of conduct by the members.
The committee, however, will not take up any matter or complaint merely based on unsubstantiated media report or any matter which is sub judice in a court of law.
The House was then adjourned to meet again on Monday at five pm.