ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Finance Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday put the country’s net losses from the recent floods at a colossal $10 billion. The losses have stunted the entire national economy, the state minister told the Senate.
Winding up a debate on the state of economy, she said that though the government had inherited a weakened economy in 2008 it was making “strides” towards managing the situation until the massive flood.
She said after seeing negative economic growth for the past two years, the government is hopeful of achieving four per cent growth this year, despite unprecedented flooding and heavy losses in the agiculture sector.
The state minister said the government is determined to begin the reconstruction process and has raised Rs40 billion from within the country to disburse among survivors as flood relief and as compensation for rebuilding their houses. She said the government will disburse Rs160 billion in cash among flood victims.
She said the government has decided to impose reformed GST and flood tax with an objective to raise more funds for flood victims.
According to official estimates, the number of kidnapping cases has surged to an alarming level over the past three years, surpassing the 28,000-mark, Minister of State for Interior Tasneem Qureshi told the Senate on Thursday.
Answering a question, Qureshi said that last year as many as 1,155 abduction cases were registered in Punjab alone, while another 2,031 cases were registered in Sindh. In 2010, as many as 1,982 cases have so far been registered in Sindh.
As many as 570 cases were prosecuted in the province during 2009, and in 2010 these were 503 while 1,037 cases were disposed of during 2009, while 875 cases were settled during the current year, he added.
In Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 368 kidnapping cases were registered during last year and in 2010, there have been 348 cases, and 265 and 175 of them were in 2009 and 2010, respectively, and 265 cases were disposed of during last year, while 175 were disposed of during the current year.
In Balochistan, 196 and 157 abduction cases were registered in the 2009 and 2010, respectively, while 122 and 55 cases were prosecuted during the same period. Of the total, 42 cases were decided in 2009 and and nine in 2010.
As many as 65 cases were registered in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), while 29 cases were prosecuted and 19 were disposed of during the same period. In Gilgit-Baltistan 17 and 14 cases were registered during 2009 and 2010, respectively, 11 and 10 cases prosecuted during the same period, while three cases were settled during the last year and no case was decided during the current year.
In response to a supplementary question, the state minister said that all political forces need to make collective efforts to improve the law and order situation, adding that the government alone cannot succeed in overcoming terrorism and other violent crimes.
Senate’s Deputy Chairman Jan Muhammad Jamali directed the interior minister to give a detailed briefing to the lower house of parliament in this regard after Eidul Azha.
The deputy chairman, who presided over the session, also ruled that all inspectors-general and provincial home secretaries hold a meeting and provide complete details of abduction cases of their respective areas.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Najmuddin said that the government has created 2,500 jobs in the Levies in Fata, of which 800 vacancies have been filled. He said jobs were provided to more than 3,500 youngsters in various tribal agencies over the past five years.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 12th, 2010.