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ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary panel on Wednesday directed the federal government to cap the expenditure on preparation of the OIC foreign ministers two-day moot on Afghanistan keeping in view the importance of the platform.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that met here under Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain opposed the structural changing in the parliament building and alleged that in the name of renovation, expensive wood and other antique decor is replaced with substandard Chinese material.

Secretary National Assembly and chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) briefed the committee on the renovation work started in the Parliament House building along with detail of expenditure to be incurred thereon.

Members committee grilled the government officials on the expenditure and the budget allocation for holding the moot, which they believed should be held in the Convention Centre or a local hotel rather in the Parliament House.

Responding to the committee members’ questions on the budget allocation for holding the OIC moot, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood said that it was decided that the budget allocation would be approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and each ministry would carry out its expenditure individually.

Khawaja Asif alleged that the committee rooms of the parliament were bigger than the headquarter of the OIC in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) and enough to host the participants of the OIC moot.

He further said that the head of states OIC moot held back in 1974 had brought positive image of Pakistan across the globe and the scheduled OIC moot was not much important.

He maintained that the OIC had never supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and other matters and should not be given much importance.

Naveed Qamar said that the parliament building should not lose its originality and heritage.

Earlier, the secretary National Assembly said that the renovation of the parliamentary building was dated back in 1995 when the parliament building was burnt. He further said that it’s part of five-year strategic plan but could not complete due to financial constraint.

The secretary Foreign Affairs said that they inspected a local hotel and the Convention Centre was not worth for hosting the moot and accommodate delegates. The idea to arrange the OIC was conceived during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to Saudi Arabia in October 2021.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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