ISLAMABAD: During the last five years 44 new post offices have been opened in Balochistan, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmed informed the Senate during the question hour on Wednesday.
Replying to a question by Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed, he said that during the period five post offices running on franchise basis were shut down for want of funds.
He added that post offices were operating on a need-basis, catering to provinces as per their respective population and requirements.
To another question by Senator Ahmed Hassan, he replied that the total length of the Peshawar-Kohat Section of N-55 (Indus Highway) is 71 km, of this, 36 km is in fair state, whereas 35 km is in poor condition.
Senate Deputy Chairman Maulana Abdul Ghafoor advised the state minister to pay a personal visit to the construction site, inspect problems and take appropriate action.
Responding to the question of Senator Agha Shahbaz Durrani, the state minister said that the National Highways Authority (NHA) has spent Rs55.96 billion on maintenance of its road network in last five years.
He said the length of NHA network is 12,131 km including 4,565 km roads in Balochistan. "The total amount spent on maintenance on NHA Balochistan network was Rs9,951 million."
When asked, why despite heavy expenditures on periodic and routine maintenance, the road had been deteriorating, the minister said he would launch an inquiry into the matter and take necessary action
Upon a written reply of the Foreign Ministry stating that Pakistan has not established an embassy in Mongolia, Senator Mehmood asked why there is no Pakistan embassy in Mongolia and if there was any honorary consul general in the country.
To which, Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch replied that Foreign Ministry opens missions according to some criteria which Mongolia has probably not met, however being located close to China, its affairs were being looked after by the Pakistan embassy in Beijing..
Senator Tahir Mashadi suggested appointing a prominent citizen to look after the interest of the Pakistani community in the absence of any embassy or consul in Mongolia.
Moreover, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayyed supplemented, adding that there should be a Pakistan embassy in Mongolia. "I have been to Mongolia twice and met with the Pakistani community over there. I suggest the government to open an embassy and if they cannot, then at least appoint an honorary consul general over there," he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2015.