Absence of ministers, secretaries in National Assembly irks Suri


ISLAMABAD:

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri on Tuesday expressed his annoyance over the absence of ministers and parliamentary secretaries in the House, adjourning the proceedings and directing them to ensure their presence next time.

He noted that it was a private members day but federal ministers or parliamentary secretaries had not bothered to attend the proceedings.

Earlier, MNA Khawaja Shiraz drew the attention of the lawmakers to Indus River System Authority (IRSA) reducing water supply to Punjab.

“Punjab’s share is 1,600 cusecs but only 500 cusecs is being supplied to the province,” he lamented.

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“Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh are being given their share of water. We are in government, and can’t even block roads in protest.”

Parliamentary Secretary Saleh Mohammad replied that water supply to Punjab had decreased in recent days.

“Today’s data [of Punjab] is 2% less. Now that water reserves are increasing, everyone will be given their share,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, MNA Khurram Dastgir Khan said July 13 was Kashmir Martyrs Day– a day to remember over 100,000 of our Kashmiri brothers who had sacrificed their lives as well as thousands of sisters who had been raped.

“[We can’t] even determine the number of Kashmiris who have been forcibly disappeared. Is it enough just for us to remember them.”

Dastgir added that it was responsibility of the government to ensure that the elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) were transparent.

“[Indian PM Narendra] Modi has said that he was creating new constituencies in [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)]. Here federal ministers are saying that if you win, you will be paid Rs10 million per vote. Fair and free elections in AJK are not only a matter of Kashmir but also of the entire Pakistan.”

In response, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the choice of Kashmiris was essential for all of us, particularly to prove that India was oppressing the people of IIOJK while there was peace on the other side.

“You are giving us a lecture. Don’t the people of AJK have the right to have a transparent government?”

The state minister maintained that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was the country’s first prime minister who did not meet Hurriyat leaders.

“Tell us what he [Sharif] gave to Kashmir in five years. PPP should tell us what it gave to AJK. It only gave corruption. There is no infrastructure [in AJK].”

Ali Muhammad Khan further said the ruling party had a programme and vision for AJK. “We have a leader [PM Imran Khan], your leader [Sharif] is out of the country.”

PPP MNA Qadir Patel said the ministers had tried to buy Kashmiris, who had not bowed down to Indian oppression.

”Whatever you did in Pakistan, don’t do that in Kashmir for God’s sake,” he added.

MNA Ehsanullah Reki pointed out that 19 Pakistanis were imprisoned in Tanzania, most of them from Balochistan.

“The foreign ministry should provide legal assistance to Pakistanis imprisoned there and arrangements should be made to bring back them back,” he demanded.

During the proceedings, 11 bills were presented in the House. They were referred to the relevant committees.

They included the Central Officers Law (Amendment Bill 2021), Amendment Bill 2021 to Article 185 of the Constitution, the National Commission for Human Rights Non-Muslims Bill 2021, the Provincial Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill 2020, the Pakistan Drug Regulatory Authority Amendment Bill, the Islamabad Pure Food Authority Bill 2020 and Dyslexia Special Measures Bill 2020.

The session was adjourned till Wednesday (today).

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