NA avoids turmoil as govt shows maturity

PML-N’s Javed Abbasi calls govt thief; state minister desists from giving befitting reply


Our Correspondent August 11, 2021
Premier Nawaz speaks on the Quetta tragedy in the National Assembly. PHOTO: APP

LAHORE:

The National Assembly session on Tuesday narrowly missed witnessing a turmoil when PML-N’s Murtaza Javed Abbasi called the government a “thief” but Minister of State Ali Muhammad Khan desisted from giving a befitting reply, saying that the atmosphere in the house has improved with great difficulty.

Abbasi claimed that there were irregularities worth Rs3 billion in the Covid fund in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. “By providing gas connections, the government is going against the Supreme Court directives.”
This prompted Ali Muhammad Khan to suggest a ban on the use of the word in the assembly. “The government should be criticised in an appropriate manner. It took a long time to improve the atmosphere in the house.

The word ‘thief’ should be expunged to maintain a cordial atmosphere,” he said.
Panel of Chair Majid Ali Khan deleted the word thief, to which PML-N’s Ali Gohar was enraged.
“How does one expunge the word ‘thief’? For four years this word was used as a slogan. So four years of assembly proceedings must also be expunged,” said Gohar.

MQM-P raises issue of Sindh evacuee properties

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan member Usama Qadri told the assembly that Centre must stop the Sindh government from distributing evacuee properties.

The government possessed seized properties in Tharparkar, Mitthi, Chacharo, Nagar Parkar and Jacobabad since the 1965 and 1971 wars, according to Qadri. He said any Pakistani can buy property anywhere in the country. But the federal government will fulfil its responsibility in this regard and once court cases against the said property were resolved, a policy would be formulated.

He explained that after the 18th Amendment, matters of revenue were dealt by the provinces. The Sindh government has a committee on the said property so this issue should be sent to them. But Amjad Khan Niazi, the chairman of the Panel of Members, said that pending court cases cannot be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.

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MQM-P member Kishore Zahra said that Liaquat Ali Khan left property in India. “Today, his son is appealing to the chief minister for dialysis treatment.” The Abandoned Waqf Property Authority has failed to fulfil its responsibility as nothing was given to those whose lands were seized during the 1965 and 1971 wars.

MQM-P member Iqbal Muhammad Khan argued that according to the Nehru-Liaquat Agreement of 1950, people were to be given due rights. So the evacuee trust should be audited as it illegally sold the said property.

Qadri responded that the Centre was prepared to talk to all stakeholders on this issue. Even Biharis were punished in 1971 for raising slogans in favour of Pakistan. “But a policy will be formulated only after the release of the property from land grabbers.”

Increase in food prices

PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar presented a notice against the increase in prices of food items in utility stores.

Alia Hamza Mulk, the parliamentary secretary for trade, responded that the government had provided subsidies worth Rs30 billion to these stores to reduce prices. Prices there have not increased for the last one and a half years. Prices of flour, sugar, ghee, pulses, etc have not increased up till July 27, 2021.

The prices of commodities in Pakistan are cheaper than in 139 countries in the world.
The utility stores were making a sale of Rs10 billion in 2018. “Today, they are making sales worth Rs114 billion and the public understands that the government is making sacrifices in this regard.”

These stores were paying a tax of Rs1 billion that has increased to Rs16 billion today.

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