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Pakistan has expressed serious concern over nuclearization of Indian Ocean by India and declared that it will take all necessary measures to augment its defence capabilities.

Making a statement in the Senate on Thursday, Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Pakistan is not oblivious to its defence needs and would upgrade its defence capabilities through suitable technologies without entering into arms race.

Referring to India's recent interceptor missile test and submarine-launched K-4 nuclear capable missile test, the Adviser said these developments are part of a massive conventional, nuclear and missile development programme pursued by India, leading to nuclearization of Indian Ocean.    

He pointed out that introduction of these systems in Indian Ocean will not only upset strategic balance in South Asia but also affect maritime security of all 32 littoral states around Indian Ocean. He said this is contrary to the policy of peaceful and friendly neighbourhood, which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has espoused.

The Adviser on Foreign Affairs said scientists and engineers of Pakistan are constantly evaluating strategic threat India's evolving nuclear doctrine can pose to Pakistan's security and evolve Pakistan's strategic response.

The Adviser said there is a proposal to move a resolution in the next session of the General Assembly in September this year to declare Indian Ocean as Nuclear Free Zone.  Pakistan will approach all the 32 littoral states to co-sponsor this resolution. Pakistan will also be taking up this issue with all major powers bilaterally and multilaterally.    

In his remarks, the Chairman Senate referred to remarks of the US State Department spokesman claiming that the US approves all the operations of F-16s in Pakistan and said we take strong exception to this statement as Pakistan is a sovereign country.     

He said Pakistan has developed a robust nuclear deterrence, which is constantly being updated.

Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms Ishaq Dar laid before the house the interim report of the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.

He also briefed the house about salient features of Constitution 22nd Amendment Bill that was adopted by the lower house on Thursday.

Responding to a calling attention notice by Mian Ateeq Shaikh, Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir said cotton production suffered not only in Pakistan but in other parts of the globe as well due to abnormal weather conditions.

The Senate has been informed that a proposal is under consideration to set up new hospitals in the country with the help of foreign countries.

Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar told the house during question hour that Bahrain has offered to establish a Medical University along with organ transplant facility in Islamabad.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Sheikh Aftab Ahmad told the house that length of National Highway Authority network has gradually increased from 8690 kilometer in 2000 to 12,131 kilometer at present. The Authority is maintaining 33 national highways, motorways and strategic roads. She said the largest network of the Authority is in Sindh followed by Balochistan.

The Senate has adopted a resolution urging the Federal Government to comply with the constitutional provisions concerning regular holding of meetings of Council of Common Interests and establishment of its permanent secretariat.    

The resolution was jointly sponsored by Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq and Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan.        

It asked the Government to hold next census as soon as possible but well before the next general elections.

The house held debate on an adjournment motion moved by Azam Khan Swati about lack of oversight to protect the interest of wheat growers who are forced to sell their wheat crop on less than support price.               

The members pointed out that the problem arose because support price of wheat in Pakistan is much higher than its price in the international market.               

Winding up debate, Minister for National Food Security Sikandar Bosan said there is need to fix minimum support price of wheat as per pricing trend in the international market. 

The Minister acknowledged that support price of wheat in Pakistan was 1300 rupee per forty kilogram whereas foreign parties are ready to deliver wheat at Karachi at 1000 rupee per forty kilogram.

Sikandar Bosan said the country is producing surplus wheat during the last four years.

The House will now meet tomorrow morning at ten.


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