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All provisions regarding exploration of natural gas under 18th Amendment had been fully implemented: Shahid Khaqan

21 December, 2017

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday told senators that all provisions regarding exploration, distribution and transportation of natural gas under the 18th Amendment had been fully implemented.

He was giving a statement in the Senate regarding distribution of gas among provinces. The Prime Minister said after 18th Amendment, the government had inducted provincial representation at the Ministry of Petroleum. He said the government had independent regulator in Pakistan with provincial representation. The government was working on addressing issues pertaining to the petroleum products at the Council of Common Interests level.

Chairman Senate Raza Rabbani on Wednesday expressed his anger over the leakage of proceeding of in-camera senate session, in which military leadership including army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa briefed the senators on country’s security situation, and said that sharing the information of in-camera session has tarnish the image of the house.

Parts of the in-camera senate session have been reported in various electronic media houses, despite complete ban on sharing of proceeding with media. “The sharing of information of in-camera meeting caused the damage to senate’s image, therefore I decided to send the issue to House Business Advisory Committee,” he said adding that leader of the house, opposition leader and other members were included in the committee.

“The committee will also draft the future policy regarding in-camera session,” he said. Chairman senate told that the leader of the house, opposition leader and few other senators have not spoken during the in-camera session. “Getting news essential responsibility of media and it get the news form sources, however we should cautious,” Rabbani said.

Reportedly, senators have alleged one member of the House to have ‘leaked’ the information.

Senate Chairman has said that privilege of Senate was compromised and it was saddening that one member made details of the briefing and General Bajwa’s visit public. If this was how it was to turn out, the Senate might as well had allowed media to cover the developments.

Which institution or a head of an institution would agree for an in-camera briefing after the incident, Senate Chairman rhetorically asked. Rabbani said that he believes in freedom of press and that the responsibility lies with the senators.

While answering to the objection raised by Senator Nauman Wazir, Senate Chairman said that Director General (DG) of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) could not reveal details of the General Bajwa’s meeting with the senators.

The Senate today passed two bills. The first bill “The Pakistan Tobacco Board (Amendment) Bill, 2017” provides to amend the Pakistan Tobacco Board Ordinance, 1968. The second bill “The Apprenticeship Bill, 2017” provided for promoting, developing and regulating systematic apprenticeship programs in the establishments for securing certain minimum standards of skill.

Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch says the government was committed to implement recommendations of the FATA Reforms Committee. He was responding to a Calling Attention Notice moved by Syed Shibli Faraz regarding delay in legislation for merger of FATA with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, in Senate. The Minister said FATA Reforms Committee gave twenty-five recommendations and directions had been issued for the implementation of twenty-four of them while only one recommendation regarding extension of jurisdiction of superior judiciary was the matter of concern. He expressed the hope that this issue would also be sorted out soon; and hopefully, the bill would likely be tabled in National Assembly soon.

Speaking on an issue of Public importance, Senator Farhatullah Babar warned against any secret move to mainstream militant organizations in the country which he said could spell disaster for peace in the region. “The government to come out clean and place all facts before the Parliament for discussion and debate”. He said that he had no proof but several strange happenings recently were alarm bells that lent credence to the suspicion that something was afoot.

He said the participation of banned outfits in the recent elections in NA 120 and in NA 4, the emergence of Milli Muslim League, the declaration by JuD to enter into electoral politics and the suspicious silence over the fate of Ehsanullah Esan the self-confessed murderer of APS Peshawar children indicated that something was cooking.

On another issue of public importance he drew attention towards the shrinking space of the civil society organizations and said that any policy about the NGOs must be based in legislation and not in executive orders.

He said that the civil society based on freedoms of association and freedom of expression was a valuable partner and not a threat to the state and regretted the enlargement of footprint of securities agencies in dealing with them. He said that statement by minister of state for interior in the senate two days ago and the formal reply given to a question in the Senate today was a proof that secret state agencies were the final arbiters of which NGO be allowed to work. Entrusting the task of registration to police or secret agencies was alike asking the wolf to guard the lamb.

Minister of State for Interior Talal Chaudry said the government welcome any guide line come from the Senate of Pakistan. He claimed that the government has stopped registration of 27 NGOs over agencies report that they were involved in illegal activities.

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