Govt accused of benefiting influential people

ISLAMABAD - The 27th session of the National Assembly on Friday was prorogued after a hot debate among the parliamentarians of PML-Q, PPP (Sherpao) and the Advisor to Prime Minister over the issue of changing Zoning Regulations in respect of Zone-3, Islamabad, by Capital Development Authority (CDA). Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Sheikh Waqas Akram, Nosheen Saeed, Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and Qudsia Arshad were the movers of the calling attention notice regarding proposed changes in the Zoning Regulations in respect of Zone-3, Islamabad, by the CDA. They expressed their concerns over these changes and said that the area was fixed for National Park, and construction of housing society or any other thing in the National Park Area was a violation of international NPA law. They alleged that the rules were being relaxed for some influential people. Adviser to Prime Minister Ghazanfar Gull while responding to their queries confirmed that the changes were being made in the Zoning Regulations. He said that a cabinet committee comprising three ministers had been made to take decisions regarding changes in Zoning Regulations in respect of Zone-3. The changes were being made in the light of the Supreme Court's direction to change the rules for Zone-4, Gull added. Riaz Hussain Pirzada was of the view that the rules had not yet changed but some influential people had started construction in Zone-3, besides a huge land was being allotted to influential people of PPP. He added that the trees had been cut down in the area that would create environment hazards. PPP-S Chief Aftab Sherpao while terming the Advisor to Prime Minister irrelevant alleged that he was distorting the facts. He said that Minister for Environment should also be a part of that cabinet committee as construction was being done in the National Park Area (NPA). He asked the Advisor to inform the House whether or not the allotments were made to people in NPA. Sheikh Waqas Akram of PML-Q, however, quoted CDA Chairman that no rules could be changed without public hearing, while alleging that some influential people had grabbed around 200 kanals of land. He requested the chairman to refer the matter to the concerned standing committee for a thorough discussion. MNA Nosheen Saeed from PML-Q told the House that influential people had already purchased 2,700 acres of land for construction of a housing society. She alleged that the rules were being relaxed for these people. Later Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi told the House that Pakistan was a signatory to international law and no construction could be made inside the NPA. Meanwhile Ghazanfar Gull brushed aside the allegations of land grabbing and opposed the suggestion to send the matter to concerned committee. Later Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi referred the matter to the concerned standing committee. Earlier on a point of order PML-N MNA Abdul Qadir Baloch said that the Government was not giving proper attention to the problems of Balochistan and the number of custodial killings were being reported. He added that the Government would have to take action otherwise it could be dangerous for Pakistan. A number of parliamentarians including Dr. Azra Fazal Pechuho, Marvi Memon and Fauzia Wahab condemned the killing of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer and said that the voices of liberals could never be suppressed. They said that the time had come for enlightened forces to unite. "Pakistan is country of liberal people. There is no Muslim, no Christian and no Hindu. We all are Pakistanis," they said. Federal Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti paid homage to former Governor Punjab and said he was a voice of all minorities in the country. "I ask if it is right to shower flowers on a killer. Minorities sacrificed for the country and they have the same rights in the country," he added. He also requested religious as well as political parties to come forward to curb religious extremism. Meanwhile, with two dissenting notes, Chairman National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho on Friday presented the report of the committee on 'The Defence Housing Authority Islamabad Bill 2007' in the National Assembly. The bill provides for the establishment of the Defence Housing Authority Islamabad. The committee in its meeting held on December 17, 2009 examined the bill in details and recommended with majority votes that the bill introduced might be passed. MNA Ayaz Amir and Begum Ishrat Ashraf have given their dissenting notes. In their dissenting note, MNA Ayaz Amir and Ishrat Ashraf stated that they should be under no illusion. In DHA Islamabad the faade is the DHA. Behind it lurks the figure of a private entrepreneur. DHA Islamabad and Bahria Town are within their rights to enter into any agreement they like. But why should Parliament be asked to gives them its seal of approval, they stated. They further stated that Musharraf was his own master and could do as he pleased. "Indeed this ordinance is a child of his dictatorship and could have been framed under no other dispensation. It has no place in the democracy and should never have been allowed to come before the National Assembly", they wrote in dissenting notes.

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