Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin informed the Senate on Friday that the national census was a long exercise but assured the lawmakers sufficient funds would be provided to ensure a fair conduct of the population count.
He also informed the upper house of parliament that an amount of Rs5 billion had been allocated at an initial stage for financial year 2021-22, adding that the provinces would also provide their due share for the census.
Last month, Planning Minister Asad Umar had said that “the general elections of 2023 will be held as per new census”. He had also said that the census in 2017 was held after a gap of 19 years but it became controversial as some political parties had reservations to the exercise and its findings.
Meanwhile, responding to a calling attention notice from Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the flight operations of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had been affected due to the coronavirus pandemic as it had to curtail its frequency and seating capacity.
He said the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had imposed fines on those airliners that made 100% booking of their flights despite the Covid-related restrictions. He added that the PIA had operated special flights to facilitate Pakistanis stranded in different countries due to the international air travel restrictions.
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Responding to a supplementary Question, the minister told the upper house of parliament that scrutiny of the credentials of PIA employees, including engineers and technicians, was carried out in line with the Supreme Court directives.
He added that degrees of around 1,800 such employees were found fake, who were removed from service. Similarly, he said credentials of 262 PIA pilots were scrutinised, out of which 50 were found having fake licences, who were removed from service, while 34 pilots had been suspended.
Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, in her calling attention notice, had drawn attention of the aviation minister towards the difficulties being faced by the Pakistanis due to over-booking and cancellation of flights of various airlines.
Senator Mohsin Aziz had drawn the attention of the aviation minister towards the serious construction flaws in the building of New Islamabad International Airport with particular reference to a recent occurrence of roof collapse on July 19, 2021.
Responding to the calling-attention notice, the minister said that different cases were with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Federal Investigation Agency and some of those were in the arbitration phase.
He added that the arbitration was in favour of the government and the looted money would be recovered, while NAB and the FIA were compiling a detailed investigation report in the IIAP project’s corruption case.
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