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The Senate on Thursday passed the Islamabad Capital Territory Local Government Bill, 2015 aimed at rationalizing and reorganizing the local government system in the federal capital.

The Bill was moved by Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

It is different from the Bill passed by the National Assembly on the subject. The Bill, among other things, envisages holding of local government elections in Islamabad on party basis.

The House also passed unanimously two bills amending The Federal Employees Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance Act, 1969.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed who moved the bills clarified that after amendments, the benefit under Benevolent Fund and Group Insurance scheme would be available to spouse and family members of the deceased retired employees even beyond the age of seventy years. They would be entitled to these benefits for fifteen years irrespective of the age of the deceased.         

The House also passed the Capital University of Science and Technology Bill, 2015.         

Presenting motion for passage of bill, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Sheikh Aftab Ahmed said the government plans to establish universities at every district headquarters.

Interior Minister Ch. Nisar Ali Khan assured the Senate that NGOs working against national interests or values of Pakistan would not be allowed to operate in the country.

To a call attention notice by Hafiz Hamdullah, he said a comprehensive and transparent system is being evolved to regulate the activities of International NGOs.

He said an online system is being devised clearly specifying nature of activities, funding and spending of NGOs in the country.

The Interior Minister said Islamabad office of Save the Children was reopened after three weeks of its sealing following sorting out the issues involved.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan informed the House that two Africa based International NGOs were engaged in unlawful activities in Balochistan and Gilgit Baltistan. These were supported by the United States, European Union, India and Israel. He said Pakistan took the issue to the UN Economic and Social Council and their credentials were cancelled by a vote of fifteen to five.

The Interior Minister said in the past about one thousand persons came to Islamabad in the garb of NGOs and indulged in anti-Pakistan activities. Their activities continued during the tenure of the previous government but no action was taken against them.

He said the government has decided to go for registration and re-registration of NGOs.

Speaking after presentation of a report in the House, the Interior Minister said the issue of fake identity cards issued to Bengalis and those of other nationalities is being reviewed.         

He said some foreign nationals obtained Pakistani identity cards in collusion with concerned officials and this does not confer on them the right of citizenship.

Responding to another call attention notice, the Interior Minister said that directions have been issued for no land acquisition for residential purposes in Islamabad. The call attention was moved by Mian Muhammad Attique Sheikh.         

The Minister said we cannot allow acquisition of land of the poor for raising housing societies. He however said it would take some time to clear the mess created in the past.         

Referring to a particular incident, he said officials of a housing developer have been arrested after injury of people in a clash over land dispute.

Earlier, the Senate was informed on Thursday that a comprehensive strategy has been outlined in the form of Vision 2025 to increase per capital income and improve income distribution.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the House during question hour that the vision is based on seven pillars. These include developing human and social capital; achieving Sustained indigenous and inclusive growth; governance,  institutional reform and modernization of the public sector; energy, water and food security; private sector led growth; developing a competitive knowledge economy through value addition and modernization of transportation infrastructure and greater regional connectivity. 

He said the share of provinces in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award has been increased to enable them to improve their socio-economic conditions. He said projects located in less developed areas are also funded through federal public sector development programme.

Minister for States and Frontier Region Abdul Qadir Baloch informed the House that the prices of 1300 CC and above capacity cars in Pakistan are less than the neighbouring countries.

However, he said, the prices of small cars being manufactured or assembled in Pakistan are higher than the prices of similar category being manufactured in neighbouring country, like India due to high production volumes and scale of economy.

He said in this regard the government is firming up draft Automotive Development Policy 2015-20, wherein new investors will be adequately incentivized to reduce prices through competition.


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