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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Tuesday that a comprehensive uniform policy is being implemented to address power pilferage nationwide and areas, where recovery from non-paying consumers and illegal use of electricity has been effectively curbed, will be declared load-shedding-free.

Responding to a point of order raised by PTI’s Asad Qaiser, Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said that under that uniform policy, increased load-shedding was being applied to feeders with high levels of power theft.

He said that curbing power pilferage was crucial to mitigate the circular debt issue, adding the government had initiated a campaign against power theft, resulting in the recovery of billions of rupees.

He said that significant progress had been made in border management at Chaman through new mechanisms. He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to resolving issues faced by the people at the Chaman border.

He said the public had elected representatives to advocate their concerns and formulate solutions within parliament.

He said it was the collective responsibility of all stakeholders to address the public’s challenges, reiterating the government’s determination to tackle issues affecting the erstwhile Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

He acknowledged the sacrifices made by these regions and announced that funds have been allocated to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) for the development of areas affected by terrorism.

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq announced plans to schedule a meeting with the finance minister to discuss the issues concerning erstwhile FATA and PATA.

Qaiser highlighted that erstwhile PATA and FATA have been granted tax exemptions to expedite development in these regions.

He said that all political parties have agreed to prioritise development in areas affected by terrorism, and despite that significant revenue is already being generated from these regions.

Qaiser proposed the formation of a special committee comprising representatives from all political parties to address the issues specific to these areas.

Qaiser also raised concerns about load shedding in KPK and urged the federal government to address this pressing issue.

At the onset of the session, the opposition leader in the National Assembly, Omar Ayub, who is the grandson of the former dictator, termed the minister’s call to “exhume the body of Ayub Khan from the grave and hang it for committing treason by imposing the first martial law in the country” as an indecent and personal attack.

Speaking on a point of order, Ayub said that Asif’s comments were inappropriate and unacceptable.

“I would like to clarify that it was not Ayub Khan who imposed the first martial law in the country as it was Iskander Mirza who imposed the first martial law,” he added.

Another PTI lawmaker Barrister Gohar Khan condemned Asif’s remarks, saying that a compromise would not be made on the sanctity of the house and its members.

He said condemnation of Asif’s remarks about the PTI member was not enough and he should be suspended for the ongoing assembly session.

However, Ali Muhammad Khan of PTI said his grandfather should not have been in the cabinet of ex-dictator Ayub Khan.

He said PTI founding chairman Imran Khan was jailed for giving an independent foreign policy to the country, adding there should be dialogue among political parties for which the NA Speaker should take the initiative.

The lawmakers in National Assembly – belong to different political parties – called of shunning political differences and taking steps towards welfare, development, and progress of the country.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Sharmila Farooqi urged political parties to bury politics of hate and confrontation, focusing instead on the welfare of the masses and the uplift of the nation.

Farooq Sattar from Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) lambasted Sindh provincial governance for the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi.

He requested the prime minister’s attention towards development initiatives and the establishment of a modern transport system in the port city.

Abdul Qadir Patel of PPP expressed disappointment at opposition claims that the President’s address to the joint sitting of parliament was merely “copy and paste”.

He said the address covered critical issues such as relations with neighbouring countries, Kashmir and Palestine disputes, continuity of democracy, unemployment, inflation, reconciliation, and rule of law.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s Hanif Abbasi accused PTI of May 9 riots, calling for strict action against the perpetrators.

He criticised PTI leaders for allegedly removing valuable gifts by Saudi government from Toshakhana.

Khurshid Shah of PPP commended President Asif Zardari for stepping in to defuse the tension in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), adding the situation in AJK was going from bad to worse if he had not intervened.

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Engineer Amir Muqam said that timely action was taken as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif held a meeting with the AJK prime minister including the “spy agency” officials.

He said those, who were trying to create unrest in the AJK, were defeated as efforts were made both from India and inside Pakistan but they miserably failed in their nefarious motives to create unrest in the region.

He said all their demands were met, and the protesters called off their protest demonstrations, adding Rs23 billion were transferred to the AJK government on the directives of Prime Minister Sharif.

Mehtab Akber Rashidi of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) said the way the lawmakers use indecent language against each other is quite unfortunate.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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