ISLAMABAD: Heads of National Assembly’s four standing committees were elected as the process of electing chairmen of the lower house panels as per the quota agreed upon by the government and the opposition kicked off on Monday.
Chairmen of the standing committees on communication and overseas Pakistanis could not be elected due to lack of quorum.
The NA panels on religious affairs and anti-narcotics will be headed by Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Maulana Asadur Rehman and Maulana Salahuddin Ayubi respectively while standing committees on defense production and education and training will be headed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Chaudhry Iftikhar Nazir and Mian Najeebuddin Owaisi respectively.
Speaking to the media after the session, Chairman Standing Committee on Religious Affairs Maulana Asad, who is the son of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, said that the committee’s second meeting will soon be called to hold discussion on hike in Hajj costs.
Responding to a question over appointment of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman, he said that decisions that had already been taken should not be made controversial.
Meanwhile, the newly elected chairman of Standing Committee on Anti-Narcotics, Ayubi said that the drugs business at public places including educational institutions was an instance of “silent terrorism”. He claimed that he knew influential behind the drugs mafia and vowed to take action against those involved in drug peddling.
Sessions of the standing committees for defense, finance, parliamentary affairs, energy, privatisation, commerce and textile, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan affairs, National Food Security, industry and production, climate change, government assurances and term and conditions have also been called on Tuesday for the election of their respective chairmen.
Last week, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser had formed 36 standing committees of the lower house comprising MNAs from different parties and independent lawmakers.
Interestingly, no federal minister was named in the standing committees. They would only participate as ex-officio members in the meetings of the committees related to their ministries and would be accountable for the performance of their departments.
As opposed to the past, the treasury members have a majority only of a few seats against the opposition.
The highlight of the National Assembly standing committees was the inclusion of central leaders of the opposition parties. Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have become members of the committees.