ISLAMABAD: Senate proceedings on Thursday focused on the dual nationality of cabinet members and government functionaries, increasing inflation and maintaining quota in hiring’s at the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited and the decreasing fortunes of the national cricket team.
Following the scrutiny of dual nationality of members of parliament, it was revealed that spouses of three federal ministers were holders of foreign nationalities.
In a reply to a question asked by Senator Talha Mehmood of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Defence Minister Syed Naveed Qamar informed the house that their wives were foreign nationality holders. Federal Minister for Benazir Income Support Program, Farzana Raja revealed that her husband held dual nationality.
Interestingly, cabinet division also submitted a list of government officers who themselves or their spouses were dual nationality holders. The list includes 17 officers of Auditor General of Pakistan’s office, 3 officers of Economic Affairs Division and 6 officers of other divisions who reported that they or their spouses had dual nationalities. The list included officers in grade 20 and below with the majority holding citizenships of United States, United Kingdom or Canada.
The Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) office further assured the House that disciplinary proceedings are under process against three officers namely; Khurram Farooq, Ammar Naqvi and Alam Shah who did not reply.
ZTBL hiring and Inflation
The government and Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) management was taken to task by Senators Zahid Khan and Khalid Mehmood for ignoring allocated quota while recruiting for new positions at the agricultural bank. Minister of State for Production Khawaja Sheraz Mahmood assured the members of the House that both merit and quota were followed in recruitments and said that ZTBL management would satisfy all outstanding queries by lawmakers in a briefing.
The Minister of State for Production further assured the House that all possible measures were being put in place to check unhindered increase in prices of essential commodities. He informed the Senate that inflation had decreased to an average of 10.8 percent during July 2011 – April 2012. “We are keeping a close watch on the movement of prices of the essential items through regular economic coordination committee meetings” he added.
Cricket in question
The Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani was put on the spot on Thursday, when questions were asked about the continuous decline in the performance of the Pakistan Cricket Team. The minister assured members of the House that while numerous reasons attributed to the decline in cricket, the government was cognizant of the need to restore national pride. Therefore, he reiterated, all out efforts for hunting new talent and then ensuring their grooming would be undertaken to bring back cricketing glory to Pakistan.
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