The Senate began its 121st session in Islamabad on Monday, the Chairman announced that Senators belonging to MQM have withdrawn their resignations submitted in August this year under protest. 

They are attending the proceedings of the house today.               

Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani pointed out that there was reasonable material and circumstances available on the record to augment perception that the resignations may not be voluntary and genuine and true intention was not to vacate the seats.

Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq pointed out that it was on this day in 1917 that the British government wrote a letter to Jewish organizations expressing its approval for establishment of a national home for Jewish people in Palestine.         

He said this declaration sowed seeds of Palestinian problem and people of Palestine are suffering from injustices till this day.        

The Chairman remarked that injustices against Palestinians expose double standards of the West.       

Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi while referring to withdrawal of resignations by MQM legislators, thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain for showing sagacity for parliamentary democracy.        

He said MQM has highest regard for the Parliament and solidarity of Pakistan. 

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad informed the House that a detailed survey report about damages in quake-affected areas is expected to be available during the next few days.

 Presenting a report in the House about the quake and the relief activities, he said federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments, armed forces and National Disaster Management Authority are making all out efforts to mitigate sufferings of the affected people.

He said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is personally monitoring the relief activities. He has also announced a compensation package in consultation with the provincial government for those killed, injured and damage to houses.         

Some members, in their speeches, maintained that relief activities were not as efficient as they should have been.          

Those who spoke included Talha Mahmood, Nauman Wazir, Sirajul Haq, Usman Khan Kakar, Ahmad Hassan, Azam Khan Swati, Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Sardar Azam Khan Musakhel and Mian Attique Shaikh.         

The Chairman referred the matter to the Standing Committee of the house on Cabinet for detailed report by Tuesday next.          

Mian Raza Rabbani also announced that the Standing Committee on Law and Justice would also act as special bi-partisan oversight committee for monitoring implementation of the Committee's report on corruption in federal government departments.           

A bill introduced by Taj Haider further to amend the National Accountability Ordinance 1999 was referred to the Standing Committee for detailed examination. 

The House passed a resolution recommending to the government to announce concession in customs duties and taxes for the importers of Balochistan.     

Winding up discussion on the resolution, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that several concessions have already been granted to Balochistan and the government would consider further concessions if recommended by the House.         

The House passed another resolution recommending that Keti Bunder Port in Sindh be included in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The resolution was moved by Sassui Palijo.         

It also adopted a resolution recommending that all vacant posts in PIMS may be filled immediately observing provincial and regional quota. The resolution was moved by Muhammad Azam Khan Musakhel.         

Another resolution moved by Kalsoom Parveen was also approved recommending to the government to take steps to ensure completion of all remaining projects under Aghaz Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package.         

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that job quota of Balochistan in federal government has been increased from 3.5 to six percent.         

They said 2511 scholarships have been given to students of Balochistan besides regularization of services of five thousand teachers. Vocational training has also been imparted to 5080 students.          

The House held discussion on the situation arising out of fixation of high electricity tariffs operated by the IPPs and government sector.        

A motion to this effect was moved by Mohsin Aziz.        

The speakers wondered how some IPPs were allowed to fleece losses when this corruption is known to the government, to Parliament, to media and people of Pakistan.         

Those who spoke on the motion included Azam Swati, Saeed Ghani, Shahi Syed, Tahir Mashhadi, Nihal Hashmi, Taj Haider, Nauman Wazir, Abdul Qayyum and Usman Kakar.

The Senate was adjourned to meet again at ten tomorrow.

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