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The Senate began its 261st session in Islamabad on Monday afternoon with Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani in the chair.

The chair announced the Panel of Presiding Officers for the current session. It includes Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Jahanzeb Jamaldini and Ayesha Raza Farooq.

The House is transacting private members' business.

At the outset of the proceedings, the House offered Fateha for martyrs of Parachinar blast incident.

Four bills were introduced in the Senate on Monday.

These include "The Defamation (Amendment) Bill, 2017", "The Islamabad Capital Territory Shops, Business and Industrial Establishments (Security) (Amendment) Bill, 2017", "The National Health Care Bill, 2017" and "The Islamabad Consumers Protection (Amendment) Bill, 2017".

The bills were moved by Muhammad Azam Khan Swati.

The chair referred the bills to the concerned standing committees of the House.

The Senators have said that supremacy of the Constitution is imperative for development and prosperity of the country and it is responsibility of all of us to make efforts for continuity and protection of this constitution.

They were speaking on a discussion in connection with the Constitution Day being observed today across the country.

Initiating the discussion, Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar congratulated Senate and the Chairman for celebrating the Constitution Day in a well-mannered way in coordination with the federating units. He demanded that Senate, which is a symbol of federation, should also be given powers equal to the National Assembly.

Farhatullah Babar said that the Constitution is supreme and it should be honoured across the board as no one is superior to the Constitution. He proposed that a course on the Constitution should be made compulsory for all the military academies of the country.

Sardar Azam Khan Musakhel said that national resources should be equally distributed among all the federating units. He said amendments should also be made in the Constitution whenever required to meet the demands of the new era.

Mushahid Hussain Syed described the day as Red Letter Day in history of the country. He said on this day the democratic leadership of the country, by giving a constitution, gave vision of future to its people.

Jahanzeb Jamaldini said there is a great need of implementation of the Constitution in its true spirit. He said it is responsibility of the government to fully implement the Constitution.

Azam Khan Swati said that the Constitution depicts the courage and vision of the leadership of that time. He said the constitution provides a stamp for the strong bonds among all the federating units.

Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said Pakistan's Constitution is one of the best Constitutions of the world. He said the constitution of Pakistan ensures protection of fundamental and human rights of the people of the country.

Muhammad Javed Abbasi congratulated the whole nation on celebration of the Constitution Day. He said the day should be observed with a commitment that no one will be allowed to break the law and violate the constitution.

Taj Haider said that the constitution was passed with unanimity among all the political forces of that time and great flexibility was shown in this regard. He paid rich tributes to Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for making a Constitution representing the will of the people of the country.

Chaudhary Tanvir Khan said that the constitution of Pakistan is an Islamic Constitution as there is nothing against the teachings of Islam. He paid rich tributes to those who sacrificed for the protection of the constitution.

Maulana Tanvir-ul-Haq Thanvi said religious scholars of all sects were involved in the creation of the Constitution of Pakistan. He said implementation of the constitution in its real spirit can ensure peace in the country.

Abdul Qayyum said that today is a day to renew our pledge to review the Constitution and implement it in our daily life according to its true spirit. He said we are behind this constitution and play our due role in its protection.

Kalsoom Parveen said that the Pakistan's Constitution safeguards the rights of the all segments of society including minorities, women and children and autonomy of the provinces.

Khalida Parveen said that the constitution is face of any country and Pakistan's constitution in this regard is the best constitution.

Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah said the constitution serves as a social contract between the people and the government and it represents the interests of the federating units. 

Ashok Kumar said that the constitution of Pakistan is our sacred book and no one should be allowed to violate it. He said we should review our pledge today to strengthen Pakistan and its constitution and ensures implementation of the rights given to the minorities in the constitution.

Rehman Malik expressed dismay that the person who gave the constitution to the country was hanged to death. He questioned, should Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto be given special name "Father of the Constitution" for his contribution in this regard.

Mukhtiar Ahmad Dhamrah paid rich tributes to those who sacrificed their lives for upheld of democracy in the country and protection and safeguarding of the constitution. 

The chair in his remarks thanked the President, Prime Minister, the National Assembly and all the provincial assemblies for their contribution in celebration of the Constitution Day.

The Senate today passed three resolutions.

The first resolution recommended the government to take effective steps for promotion of wind energy in the country.

It was moved by Chaudhary Tanvir Khan. 

The second resolution recommended the government to take effective steps to implement the provision of clause (3) of Article 172 of the Constitution in letter and spirit.

The resolution was moved by Karim Ahmad Khawaja.

The third resolution recommended the government to appoint a Minister for the Ministry of Textile Industry in order to promote the growth of textile exports and sustainability of the textile sector.

The resolution was moved by Mohsin Aziz.

The Senators have called for devising an effective mechanism for oversight of construction of roads in the country.

Speaking on a motion moved by Azam Khan Swati, they said that measures like specification, design, technology and load-management should be taken into consideration for construction of the quality roads. They said that performance guarantee should be taken from the contractor and he should be held responsible for repairing of the roads for at least five years. They said that strict measures should be taken for elimination of corruption from this sector. They said that the mechanism of collecting toll tax also needs to be revisited.

Concluding the discussion, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad said that the government is committed to develop quality network of roads across the country and all measures are being taken to complete task in a transparent way. He said that the suggestions of the members of the House will also be incorporated in the road development project.

Taking part in another motion moved by Ayesha Raza Farooq and others, the members called for effective measures to boost industrial growth in the country. They said that new markets should be accessed and natural and mineral resources should be utilized at the maximum for industrial development.

They said that there is a need of qualified professionals and research in industrial sector to meet the demands of the new era. They said that after the improvement in the law and order situation and energy sector, the industrial sector should get boost and maximum investors should be invited in the country by providing them tax relief.

Responding to points of public importance regarding the suspension of mobile phone services in Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies and suspension of internet services in District Qallat, Balochistan, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman Khan told the House that the action has been taken due to security reasons.

To another point of public importance regarding the discriminatory treatment with the Pakistani citizens at Saudi Airports as only Pakistani citizens are forced to intake polio drops before entry into Saudi Arabia, Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that under the direction of the WHO all the travelers from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia have to take polio drops. He said the polio cases in the country have reduced to almost nil as two cases have been reported this year. He said in future the situation will improve. He said as a requirement all the pilgrims reaching to Saudi Arabia have to take polio drops and the children who do not have polio certificate are also administered polio drops.

Responding to a point of public importance regarding deportation of staff of Pak-Turk schools from Pakistan, the Advisor said that on the reservations of Turkish government after coup, all the teachers of the schools were asked to leave the country after the expiry of their passports. He said most of them have left while some have gone to court for stay. He said they are also approaching UNHCR for third country asylum and work is underway in this regard. He said new administration of the schools has appointed teachers from Turkey and the education of the students is not affected.

The House will now meet tomorrow at three in the afternoon.


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