ISLAMABAD - Several members of the National Assembly ostensibly left the House disenchanted as most of their points of order were not heeded for lack of ministers’ attention and paucity of time when Speaker Ayaz Sadiq prorogued the session sine die on Friday.
As per order of the day, the Speaker prior to prorogation allowed point of order to several members but they had to leave the Lower House without satisfaction.
Asad Omer, Lal Chan, Aysha Gul-e-Lyila, Abdul Wasim, Shazia Marri, Jamshed Dasti, Jamaluddin, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Mehmood Khan Achakzai MNAs from different political parties raised various issues of public importance through point of order but despite their repeated pleas for further clarification the Speaker announced the prorogation order. Earlier at the outset, the House disposed of the Question Hour and subsequently other agenda items including two calling attention notices and an adjournment motion.
During the Question Hour, the House was informed that Consulate General of Pakistan Jeddah had issued 55,247 manual passports 94,632 Machine Readable Passports (MRPs), 39,126 emergency passports and attested documents of 15,631 applicants during 2013.
In a written reply, Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development said that over 1500 applicants daily visit the mission for consular and welfare services. On average, the mission processes 500-570 applicants for (MRPs), 200 for manual passports, 200 for emergency passports and 500 for INC and over 350 for welfare services daily. The number of applicants was extraordinarily high last year on account of the amnesty announced by the host government and its related issues. The welfare section of the mission deals with the issues relating to Pakistani prisoners, missing persons, matters relating to OPF, membership cards, issues of Pakistanis with local law enforcement agencies, issues of expatriate community in Pakistan, burial and transportation of dead bodies of deceased Pakistanis, assistance in final exit of stranded Pakistanis assistance to illegal Ummrah/Haj overstay.
Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan told the National Assembly Friday that Pakistan has proposed to ink a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Uzbekistan for promoting bilateral trade.
Replying to the questions, the minister said the draft PTA has been sent to Uzbek authorities through diplomatic channels for consideration. He said the top priority of the PML-N government was to enhancing trade ties with neighboring countries. The ministry is continuously striving to enhance market access for Pakistani products in the Central Asian Republics.
Pakistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to discuss the possibility of entering into a PTA and Pakistan and Iran have initiated discussions on the possibility of entering into Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by broadening the scope of PTA that already exists between the two countries.
Pakistan and Turkey have been engaged in negotiations for PTA since 2004 and the sixth round of PTA negotiations was held in Islamabad on December 2013.
To a question, the minister said there is no shortage of cement in the country and the commodity is also being exported. He said there is a price control mechanism at the provincial level to check prices of cement. He said according to the Ministry of Industries and Production, the domestic consumption of cement was only 25.06 million tons per annum while exports stand at 9.0 million tons in 2012-13 as against a production of 44.77 million tons per annum. Khurram Dastgir said that a mechanism is in the offing to rationalize the country’s tariff regime with an aim to boost the country’s exports. He said anti-dumping duty on cement would be lifted by next week. The minister informed that the country’s fishery exports have resumed and efforts are afoot to bring the fishery plants at international levels. Minister for States and Frontier Regions Lt. Gen Abdul Qadir Baloch informed the House that the government had paid compensation amount to 731 affected persons of Rahe-i-Nijat operation in South Waziristan Agency.
Replying during Question Hour in the National Assembly, the minister said the operation was launched in Ladha and Sarwakai sub division of South Waziristan Agency in which 278 persons were martyred, 403 sustained seriously injuries and 50 were slightly injured.
The minister said that as per the government policy, Rs 3,00,000 paid to legal heirs of martyr and Rs 1,00,000 to serious injured and 25,000 to slightly injured.
Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Pir Sadruddin Rashidi on Friday informed the National Assembly that a sum of Rs 5.93 billion have been released from the allocated amount for Workers Welfare Funds. Responding to a calling attention notice moved by the Mian Abdul Mannan, the secretary said around Rs 175 billions are still stuck with the Ministry of Finance.
He sought the help of legislators for the earlier release of the amount from the Finance Ministry. He said the early release of the amount would help the ministry to finalise people’s welfare related projects. However, he informed the House that, a meeting had been convened next weak to resolve the issues.
The House adopted a motion moved Sheikh Aftab Ahmed, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs through a motion sought nomination of Syed Ayaz Ali Shah Sherazi and Dr. Darshan, MNAs from Sindh as members of Sindh Coal Authority, Karachi as required by section 7(1)(1V) of the Sindh Coal Authority ACT, 1994.