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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani took serious notice of the absence of ministers from the house and secretaries of the ministries and divisions whose business was on the Orders of the Day and directed the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs to submit their list on a daily basis.

There were no written replies of 19 questions out of 39 during question-hour session of the National Assembly.

Federal Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Murtaza Javed Abbasi said that his ministry had issued circulation to all concerned ministries and departments to ensure the presence of ministers and secretaries in the session of the House.

The NA deputy speaker directed the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs to provide lists of all concerned ministers and secretaries who were present or absence from the house on a daily basis. He said the house would not function in that way.

Former Speaker National Assembly and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) leader Dr Fahmida Mirza criticized the government and said that only one or two ministers were present in the house during the important question-hour session. She said the first row of benches was empty. She said, “There is neither government nor opposition in the house.”

During the question-hour session, the National Assembly was informed that the ban imposed on new gas connections by the previous government would be reconsidered by the federal cabinet.

Minister of State for Energy Musadik Masood Malik told the house during question-hour that “it will be our effort to revive the gas schemes where possible, keeping in view the availability of gas in the country.”

Answering a supplementary question about Iran Gas Pipeline Project, he said that “we will provide an answer in detail if the member submits a fresh question.” However, he said he would get input from the legal team of the government about Iran Gas Pipeline Project.

However, then minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi of the PML-N government in 2013 had informed the National Assembly that the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project was now off the table.

“In the absence of international sanctions the project can be completed within three years, but the government cannot take it any further at the moment because international sanctions against Iran are a serious issue,” he said in reply to a supplementary question put forth by PML-N lawmaker, Zahra Wadood.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced in February last year to complete the project in 15 months.

Answering a question, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Abbasi regretted that the previous government of the PTI did not construct any motorway project in its four-year tenure. He said repair and maintenance of roads were also neglected during this period.

Saira Bano pointed out the quorum. The Deputy Speaker had to adjourn the house without taking other business except for question and answer till on Monday at 4:00 pm due to lack of quorum.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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