The Senate on Thursday referred nine issues forwarded by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak on the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project to a recently constituted committee.
The decision was taken by Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani in an effort to give the provinces their due share after the K-P chief minister forwarded as many as 33 issues related to the rights of the province.
Referring to a recent protest by K-P lawmakers against the centre for allegedly depriving them of their legitimate rights, Raza Rabbani said he had gone through the demands of regarding the rights of his province and found them genuine. Later the Senate chairman directed the committee to report back within two months over the issues referred to the committee. He also referred the remaining 24 issues, which also include the net hydel profit matter, to the concerned committees of the house for deliberations and directed to submit a detailed report within two months.
Perks and privileges
Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) pressed for a fairly extensive system of state-sponsored perks and privileges for lawmakers and their spouses and children.
He referred to benefits availed by their Indian counterparts, saying Indian MPs can even avail free air ticket even for his/her partner. Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt informed the house that the law and justice ministry has said nothing objectionable or misleading rather it is law under which the spouse and children of an MP can not avail an air ticket.
Age limit for CSS exam
Earlier, Raza Rabbani welcomed a government assurance that it has no objection to increase the upper age limit for CSS examination especially for the candidates belonging to Balochistan, Sindh, K-P and other under developed areas from 28 to 30 years but many said it was not solution to the problem.
The issue came under discussion after it was highlighted by 10 people through the recently launched public petition system. Lt-Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum proposed that the relaxation of age should not be made on permanent basis and be limited for a specified time period.
The Senate chairman gave the third consecutive ruling to suspend a minister from the house if without any cogent reason he was not present to deal with his business in the house.
“Let this serve as the third and final warning in this respect,” he said, adding that if a situation arose again, he would be constrained to pass strictures under the rules to the minister to barred him from the entire session, a number of sessions or sitting in the Senate. He was speaking at the question-hour conducted at the Senate on Wednesday.
In the absence of other relevant ministers, the task of fielding all questions pertaining to or related with any ministry or division of the federal government continued to fall on the shoulders of the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab. But Raza Rabbani said this practice could not be allowed where ministers misuse the provisions of Clause 6) of Article 91 of the Constitution of 1973.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2015.
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