Published On: Wed, Apr 24th, 2019
Published in Category: Islamabad

Opposition & treasury members criticize each other on resolution regarding formation of two new provinces in Punjab

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ISLAMABAD: Only 34 points out of 100 point agenda were discussed during the National Assembly session on Tuesday. Overall 15 bills were presented in the session out of them nine were sent to the committees and one was rejected and one was taken back by the mover of the bill and four bills were deferred due to the absence of the movers of the bills.


Opposition and treasury members criticized each other on the resolution regarding formation of two new provinces in Punjab, one South Punjab and second Bahawalpur Province. Meanwhile MQM-Pakistan has demanded formation of South Sindh province; however PPP has advised MQM-P to get first resolution passed from Sindh Assembly for formation of South Sindh province.


The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2019 was laid before the house on Tuesday for the creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces. It was moved by PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah Khan. The chair referred the bill to the standing committee concerned for further deliberations.


Rana Sanuallah said that in past the politics on new provinces was started prior to the elections, adding that we are taking practical steps in this regard. He said that the people of Bahawalpur did not want to go with South Punjab, adding that due to this reason we to make Bahawalpur as separate province.


While conditionally supporting the bill, PPP leader Syed Naveed Qamar said that we support the formation of new provinces in Punjab, adding that that it has been demanded to from three provinces in Punjab but for this purpose constitutional amendment is required.


PTI’s Chief Whip Malik Mohammad Amir Dogar while terming the bill as conspiracy said that PML-N did not want to form South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces, adding that the Takht-e-Lahore deprived the people of South Punjab and due to this the voices of new provinces are raised today. He said that in July, 2019 the secretariat is being established in South Punjab, adding that there are differences on the creation of Bahawalpur province; however these differences will be resolved.


PML-N leader Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal said that presentation of the bill regarding creation of South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces is the historic day. He said that the government should not oppose the bill, adding that the people should not be given the lollypop of secretariat.


Minister of Housing and Works and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema said that he supports the bill, adding that it is his request to send the bill to committee. He said that it is truth that the Takht-e-Lahore snatched our rights in past, adding that we did not want to go under Takht-e-Multan after Takht-e-Lahore. He said that if government wants to establish secretariat then it should establish two secretariats one in Multan and second in Bahwalpur. Cheema said that we have rendered lives for Bahwalpur provinces so we could commit treachery with the Bahawalpur province.


MQM-P member Iqbal Mohammad Ali while supporting the bill said that not South Punjab and Bahawalpur provinces should be created but Hazara and South Sindh provinces should also be established.


Former prime minister and PPP leader Raja Parvez Ashraf said that there is a procedure for creation of province, adding that PPP had taken practical steps for south Punjab province. He said that only provinces should be established on administrative basis. He said that if MQM-P wants to new province in Sindh then first it should get resolution passed from Sindh assembly, adding that the provinces should not be created on the linguistic basis.


Meanwhile the National Assembly was informed on Tuesday that no load-shedding is being carried out on eighty percent feeders across the country.


Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Fazal Mohammad Khan, Minister for Power Omer Ayub said that out of 8610 total feeders, no load management is being carried out on 6610 feeders.  He clarified that load management is only being carried out in the areas where line losses are high.


Omer Ayub said the present government has initiated a drive to improve recoveries and check power theft.  As a result of this drive, line losses have been reduced by 2.4 percent across the country whilst recoveries witnessed an increase of 1.3 percent over the last four months.  He said over twenty seven thousand FIRs have been registered against the people involved in power pilferage. Of these, about 4400 people have also been sent behind bars. He said we have also taken action against the staff of WAPDA and terminated over 450 officials for being hand in glove with the power pilferage.


The Minister said no compromise will be made to eliminate ‘Kunda’ culture. He said efforts are also afoot to improve the power transmission system with 2.5 billion rupees have been released for installation of Aerial Bundle Cable (ABC) to check the power pilferage.


Responding to another calling attention notice regarding recent increase in the prices of petroleum products, Omer Ayub said that our mission is to provide relief to the masses. This is the reason that we did not fully pass on the increase recommended by Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). He said unlike the previous government, we have reduced taxes on petroleum products in order to shield the consumers from the increase in oil prices in the international markets.


Regretting the apathy of previous governments towards oil and gas exploration, Omer Ayub, who also holds the additional charge of Petroleum Ministry, said the present government is firm to take forward the onshore and offshore oil and gas drilling. He said international companies are evincing great interest in the exploration sector and they will be fully facilitated to bolster local production. He said we also aim to double the capacity of our refineries.


The Federal Minister said that oil prices were at historic low of twenty two dollars per barrel in the previous regime but the relief was not passed on to the consumers. He said previous government was charging sales tax at the rate of twenty nine to thirty percent whilst we have brought it down to seventeen percent.


Responding to the points of Khurram Dastgir regarding Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Iran, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said both Pakistan and Iran will have to take steps against the proscribed outfits to eliminate the menace of terrorism. She said it is the first time that during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visits to Iran, both the countries agreed to take joint steps against terrorism.


The opposition parties created rumpus in the house on Tuesday and tore apart the copies of the agenda of the day.


Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the opposition parties are making hue and cry against the accountability process. He said the looted amount will be recovered. He said under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the country’s image has improved significantly and it has come out of isolation. He said the top PPP leadership has no understanding of the country’s problems.


Several other bills were also laid before the House on Tuesday. These are: The Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2019, The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, The Chamber of Agriculture Bill, The Prohibition of Forced Religious Conversion Bill, The Eradication of Riba Bill and The Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill and the Constitution Amendment Bill (Article 51, 106). The house will now meet today (Wednesday) at 11:00 AM.

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