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ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Wednesday expressed serious reservations over the “unannounced” load shedding in Karachi by K-Electric and directed the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Chairman, Tauseef H Farooqi, to submit a report based on the complaints by the consumers against K-Electric.

The Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat meeting, which was held with Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed in the chair, deliberated upon its agenda, besides discussing the issues being faced by the people of Karachi due to the unannounced load shedding.

The committee, while expressing its reservation over the unannounced load shedding in Karachi and the problems and grievances of the people due to lack of electricity, directed the NEPRA chairman to look into the complaints and reservations of consumers and prepare a detailed report to the committee.

In his remarks, the chairman of the committee stated that officials of the K Electric neither attend the meetings of the panel nor do they solve the problems of the people of Karachi.

He pointed out that many people have lost their lives due to electrocution mainly because of the negligence of K-Electric. He also tasked Senator Mushtaq Ahmed and Senator Engineer Rukhsana Zubairi to visit Karachi and prepare a detailed report and submit it to the standing committee, adding that the committee will make recommendations to the government for further action.

The committee also held detailed deliberations over The Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Amendment Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Naseebullah Bazai, Civil Servants Amendment Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Afnanullah Khan in the Senate session on May 23, 2022, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Amendment Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Shahadat Awan in the Senate session on May 23, 2022, and the questions asked by Senator Waleed Iqbal in the Senate session held on November 5, 2021, call attention notice dated November 16, 2021 by Senator Mohsin Aziz for PTDC Properties and Hotel Affairs, Malik Muhammad Khan Chairman MK Pakistan’s public petition.

In addition, the issues of public petitions with reference to the Federal Public Service Commission were also discussed.

The committee reviewed in detail the Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution Amendment Bill 2022 and unanimously passed the bill.

Senator Maqbool said that appointment of members of the NEPRA should be carried out on merit.

The Civil Servants Amendment Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Afnanullah in the Senate session on May 23, 2022 was reviewed in detail. Afnanullah said that the main purpose of the bill is to prevent dual nationals from entering the civil service. He said that a bill in this regard was passed by the National Assembly but there were some issues and reservations on it. He stated that a new definition of civil service should be added.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that a comparison report of that bill and Senator Afnan’s new bill should be sought from Legal Department and then reviewed. Senator Shahadat Awan said that the bill could also be made effective by giving a cut motion in the joint sitting of the Parliament.

The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Amendment Bill 2022 introduced by Senator Shahadat in the Senate session held on May 23, 2022 was reviewed in detail. Shahadat briefed the committee on the details of the bill and after a thorough review, the bill was passed unanimously.

On the questions asked by Senator Waleed Iqbal in the Senate session held on November 5, 2021, the senator said that the working papers provided had also been provided earlier but the questions raised by the chairman and members of the committee were not addressed in the written reply.

He said that the Civil Service Rule of 1954 should be removed. He said that times have changed and effective legislation is the need of the hour.

The chairman committee and the members decided that the Establishment Division should prepare a comprehensive briefing in this regard at the next meeting and make suggestions for effective amendments in the Rules.

On Senator Mohsin Aziz’s calling attention notice regarding the issues of properties, the hotels of the PTDC, the committee was informed that the PTDC had 37 properties which have been transferred to the provinces.

It was further informed that Gilgit-Baltistan has 13 properties which have not been transferred and 18 out of 19 properties have been transferred to the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government.

The committee was further informed that provinces are leasing out these properties to private parties and the transfer of properties has been done through proper procedure in consultation with the provinces and with the approval of the Federal Cabinet.

On this, the chairman of the committee said that the panel should be briefed in detail as to how the affairs will be run in future, what is the vision and what strategy would be adopted.

The committee expressed serious reservations over the closure of the Flashman Hotel, Rawalpindi for the last one year and recommended that the hotel should be made operational within a month.

On Malik Mohammad Khan, chairman MK Pakistan’s public petition, the NAB officials informed the committee that the inquiry into the matter has been completed and its board has to give its approval and the new NAB Chairman has not been appointed as yet.

The committee, however, recommended that the matter should be resolved at the earliest by involving the concerned parties.

The meeting was attended by senators, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Engineer Rukhsana Zubairi, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, Naseebullah Bazai, Afnanullah Khan, Shahadat Awan, Waleed Iqbal, and other senior officials of the concerned ministries and departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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