683 properties owned by banned outfits sealed, Senate told | Pakistan Today

683 properties owned by banned outfits sealed, Senate told

–Railways inflicted Rs187bn losses in five years

ISLAMABAD: The upper house of the parliament was informed on Wednesday that 683 properties owned by the banned organisations, including 76 schools, four colleges, 15 hospitals, 383 religious seminaries, 188 dispensaries and 17 buildings, have been sealed by the government.

Interior Minister Ijaz Shah presented these details while speaking at the floor of the Senate. Shah said that seminaries, hospitals and other properties owned by the banned outfits have been sealed in the light of United National Security Council (UNSC) guidelines. He said the highest number of sealed properties are in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

On August 21, Pakistan had imposed sanctions on more than 88 individuals allegedly associated with different terrorist groups, including Daish, al-Qaida and Taliban. According to the details, the government had also seized the bank accounts and properties of the individuals in the country. They had also been banned from travelling abroad.

Replying to a question during Question Hour in the House, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that the government believes in strengthening the structure of religious seminaries for the promotion of Islam. He said, “We have complete liaison with the administration of the seminaries across Pakistan.”

He said that being a signatory of United Nations (UN) Charter, Pakistan has frozen properties of UN designated entities and as a responsible member of the world body, Pakistan has to follow UN instructions after thorough examination. He informed the House that some international non-governmental organisations have also been closed in the country for not fulfilling the requirements.

Answering another question, Ali Muhammad said that reviewed master plan of Islamabad will likely be finalised next year. He said that high-rise buildings are being encouraged to protect green areas in the country, which is evident from the fact that the federal cabinet has recently barred construction of prison on greenbelt in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

Meanwhile, the Senate was informed that Pakistan Railways inflicted losses to the tune of Rs187 billion on the national exchequer over the last five years. According to statistics disclosed on the floor of the upper house of parliament, the railways posted the highest ever deficit of Rs50.15 billion during the last fiscal year (2019-20).

Its losses stood at Rs32.76 billion during financial year 2018-19, whereas, fiscal year 2017-18 saw the national entity incurring losses to the tune of Rs36.62 billion. It brought on a Rs40 billion deficit during FY 2016-17 and Rs26.99 billion during FY 2015-16.

The Senate also passed The Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The prime objective of the bill, moved by Adviser to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan, is to control terror financing.
The House rejected The Anti-Terrorism (Third Amendment) Bill, 2020, with a majority vote.

Replying to a question, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said the government is focusing on promoting regional languages, culture and traditions through Radio Pakistan and PTV.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan always calls for formulating programmes, based on indigenous culture of Pakistan and religious traditions, which can be viewed with the entire family. He stressed the need to repulse cultural onslaught of India and other countries by highlighting the cultural assets of Pakistan.

The House will now meet on Friday at 10:30 am.