ISLAMABAD: Former minister for tourism Nilofar Bakhtiar claimed that the 18th Amendment Bill was “bulldozed” in the parliament because of the “vested interests” of “all political parties.”
She stated these views while chairing the meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Tourism and Culture on Saturday at the parliament, where she strongly advocated the retention of tourism and cultural ministries with the federal government
“The amendment would further complicate issues of national importance related to culture, education and tourism,” she said.
However, Senator Pervez Rasheed rebuked her claim that there was vested interest behind the amendment’s passage. He said that since all parties have equal representation in the preparation of the draft bill and the amendment’s passage, her reservations should have been expressed before its passage. Bakhtiar, along with Senator Kazim and Senator Salahuddin Dogar advised that Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, Pakistan National Council of the Arts and Lok Virsa should not be devolved.
She also recommended that the Malam Jabba resort in Swat not be wound up as it was an international ski resort and a major tourist hub.
Federal Secretary Tourism and Culture Shahid Rashid said that the ministry had given two proposals related to the Pakistan Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (PITHM), Karachi. The first was to reconstitute the board of governors and the second to wind it up.
Regarding PITHM in Swat, the committee was told that is presently under army’s control. Bakhtiar was optimistic about the army returning the training institute soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2011.