NA proceedings: Pakistan to establish body for maritime security

PPP trades barbs with government over water distribution


Riazul Haq March 14, 2018
PTI’s Arif Alvi said he was the chairperson of a subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee and the whole system was jeopradised so the JMIO should also have the fisheries department in its purview.. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government on Wednesday decided to establish a joint maritime information organisation (JMIO) for the detection of major threats emanating from sea -- including piracy, transnational criminal activities, human and drug trafficking.

The aim is to make this organisation a ‘nerve centre for collection, coordination and dissemination’ of among all stakeholders for the maritime security.

The bill to establish JMIO was tabled by Minister for Defense Khurram Dastagir Khan in the National Assembly for expedient constitution of JMIO to synergise efforts of all organisations and agencies and information sharing for maritime security.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders Shireen Mazari raised objections on the bill but Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi, who was chairing the session, told her to submit her objections in writing to the relevant committee where it was referred.

According to the bill, in contemporary global environment the threats for criminal activities can assume asymmetric proportions for the state(s).

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“Early detection and timely warning to various agencies responsible for maritime security will enable coordinated, immediate and effective response to emerging situations.”

It stated that majority of states have already restructured their maritime security organisations under a similar concept.
JMIO will act as a nerve centre for collecting, fusing and disseminating information related to maritime domain to all stakeholders, it said, adding, “Since the concept involves a number of agencies and the bill is considered imperative to achieve seamless integration of all the organisations.”

PTI’s Arif Alvi said he was the chairperson of a subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee and the whole system was jeopradised so the JMIO should also have the fisheries department in its purview.
“In Karachi, coastal area fishing through about 4,000 boats is legal, but over 18,000 boats are capturing small fishes, literally destroying the lucrative market,” he stated.

Interestingly, the minister refused to agree to the inclusion of fisheries in the new body for maritime, but the statements of objects and reasons clearly mentioned illegal fishing one of the ‘major threats’ the bill seeking through legislation.

The members of Pakistan Peoples Party also locked horn with the government for more than half-an-hour over the distribution of water in calling attention notice.

Minister for Water Resources Javed Ali Shah said Sindh was getting more water than Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan under the Water Apportionment Accord 1991.

“I do not know why the government is blamed for bias because currently the province has a share of 19,000 cusecs but it was getting 500 cusecs more than the given number.”

This infuriated PPP lawmakers Shazia Marri, Nawab Talpur and others. Talpur said the figures were misleading and added that Sindh was being deprived of the due share.

The minister replied the same complain should be made by KP and Balochistan instead of Sindh but “I assure the house that there is no such discrimination in distribution of water.”

Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Sheikh Salahuddin walked out of the house against the ‘discriminating’ behaviour of the Federal Investigation Agency in summoning sitting parliamentarians in an inquiry against money laundering.

“This is breach of our privilege and insult to our roles,” he said and walked out of the house.

During question hour, the house was informed in a written reply that in 2016 out of 6.38 million births of infants in the country about 419,032 died in age of less than a year. This also includes 290,393 deaths of neonates in the same age group.

Similarly, the ministry of housing and works stated that currently 22,707 government employees are on the waiting list for allotment of official accommodation. About 17497 employees are currently residing in the government residences.

Meanwhile, Minister for Water Resources Syed Javed Ali Shah on Wednesday informed the National Assembly that work on Munda Mohmad dam will be started in April.

Responding to a question during question hour, the minister said the project is proposed to be constructed across Swat River at a distance of about 48km from Peshawar and 5km upstream of the existing Munda Head Works in the Mohmad tribal area.

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He said the project was delayed due to many reasons, including non-allocation of funds, but the present government had allocated enough funds for the said project.

"The timeframe for the completion of project cannot be given," he said, adding that the Munda dam will generate about 840MW electricity after its completion.

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