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The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that work on Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India has begun and is likely be completed by 2020.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi told the House during question hour that the project will support power generation capacity, which will help in overcoming the crippling power shortage crisis.

He said the construction of pipeline will also create job opportunities in backward areas along its route. He said the project will help a great deal in meeting the energy requirements of the country's economy. He said the project upon completion would help achieve high GDP growth in the country.

To a question, he said 3220 gas meters have so far been installed in district Lower Dir. He said all new gas connections are provided strictly on turn basis through computer-generated lists.

To another question, the Minister ruled out any discrimination against Sindh in provision of gas to the province. He said Sindh is getting more gas than it had been receiving in the PPP government.

Answering a question, he said there is no gas load shedding for domestic consumers in the country.

Responding to a question, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that there is no proposal under consideration to keep the courts open round the clock. However, he said a draft Bill titled Evening Courts Bill, 2017 for Islamabad Capital Territory is under consideration to reduce the pendency of cases in the courts.

The Minister said that at present 32058 cases are pending in Supreme Court, 214000 in Lahore High Court, 85809 in Sindh High Court, about 31000 in Peshawar High Court, 6270 in Balochistan High Court and 13883 in Islamabad High Court.

On a point of order, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah asked the government to honour the Parliament.

He urged government to uphold Parliament's supremacy and strength. He said it was the Parliament, which provided support to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the hour of need.

Later, PPP members boycotted the proceedings of the House.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir says Pakistan is transitioning from low growth to higher growth phase by addressing the supply side bottlenecks in energy and infrastructure sectors.

Making a policy statement in the National Assembly today, he said that the transitioning phase indicates strong positive impact on broader economic activities.

The Minister said that Pakistan merchandise exports rose by ten percent in March this year.

 He said last month was the fourth one for this fiscal year in which Pakistan's exports increased on yearly basis with a highest rise record in November last year, when exports rose to 6.2 percent on yearly basis.

 The Minister said Pakistan's services exports in February this year nearly doubled that is a rise of 90 percent compared monthly basis to January this year and also rose 90 percent compared to yearly basis in February last year.

 He said exports of high value added textile products, oil products like readymade garments and bedware items have risen.

 Khurram Dastgir Khan said Pakistan's share in the European Union in textile market has gone up as a result of duty-free access to Pakistani products. He said Pakistan's exports to EU have increased from 4.52 billion euros in 2013 to 6.28 billion euros in last year.

 The Commerce Minister said textile exports to EU have increased by 55 percent during the same three years period.

 He said overall exports receipts grew by marginal 1.2 percent in second quarter of this fiscal year. He said import of Liquefied Natural Gas increased by 144 percent this year which will help mitigate gas shortage in the country and meet the requirements of the industry, especially fertilizer and power generations.  He said import of LNG is also releasing local gas for domestic consumers.

 The House will now meet tomorrow morning at 10:30


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