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The Senate was informed on Thursday that Federal Government has allocated over 280 billion rupees during the current fiscal year for the uplift of less-developed areas of the country.

Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal told the House during question hour that the government is making its utmost efforts to bring the less-developed areas at par with the rest of the country.

He said number of development projects have been initiated in Azad Kashmir, FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan. He said the government also undertakes development projects of national importance such as water reservoirs, transmission lines, canal network, railways line, rolling stock, power generation and research products relating to enhancement of agriculture production to benefit the entire country.

To a question, Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said the government is extending training under Aik Hunar Aik Nagar programme across the country. He said programme is aimed at training and capacity building of artisans and crafts persons, mostly women. He said, however, 28 thousand people have so far been benefitted from the programme.

To another question, the Minister of State for Federal Education and Training Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman said that inflation rate has been contained through effective fiscal policies, monitoring of prices and supply of commodities in the market. He said ECC regularly reviews inflationary trend, prices and supply of essential commodities. He said the provincial governments also monitor the prices and supply of commodities through their District Price Control Committees and undertake remedial measures accordingly.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Samina Abid regarding the non-availability of burial and funeral place for the Hindu Community residing in Islamabad due to which that community is facing serious problems, Minister of State for Capital Development and Administration Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhry says a plot measuring 3.89 kanals at H-9/2 sector is being allocated for the construction of Hindu temple and cremation site.

He said another plot has already been allocated to the Hindu community for cremation purposes at H-9 Sector. He said the last cremation done at that site in 2012 was of Raja Tridiv Roy.

Minister of State for Capital Development and Administration Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhry told the House that Islamabad Safe City Project is near completion.

He was responding to another calling attention notice moved by Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi regarding the inconvenience caused to the residents of Islamabad due to the blockage of the roads by the Government and Private Offices and Embassies located in the residential areas of Islamabad.

The State Minister said a number of police barricades have been removed as a result of Islamabad Safe City project, which has greatly helped reduce incidents of terrorism in the federal capital.

He said over 2,000 commercial activities have been removed from the residential areas. He, however, said that 26 embassies of various countries are still functioning in the residential areas, which will also be shifted to the Diplomatic Enclave at their allocated space. He said barricades outside these embassies have also been reduced to a reasonable extent.

Minister of State for Capital Development and Administration Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhry told the House that Islamabad Safe City Project is near completion.

He was responding to another calling attention notice moved by Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi regarding the inconvenience caused to the residents of Islamabad due to the blockage of the roads by the Government and Private Offices and Embassies located in the residential areas of Islamabad.

The Minister of State said a number of police barricades have been removed as a result of Islamabad Safe City project, which has greatly helped reduce incidents of terrorism in the federal capital.

He said over 2,000 commercial activities have been removed from the residential areas. He, however, said that 26 embassies of various countries are still functioning in the residential areas, which will also be shifted to the Diplomatic Enclave at their allocated space. He said barricades outside these embassies have also been reduced to a reasonable extent.

The Senate today passed "The National Command Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2016". The bill provides to amend the National Command Authority Act, 2010.

The bill was moved by Minister of State for Interior Baligh-ur-Rehman.

The House started discussion on an adjournment motion moved by Sherry Rehman and others regarding the report of the Commission on the incident of terrorism at Civil Hospital Quetta, on 8th August, 2016.

Taking part in the discussion, Leader of the Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said it is a very significant report and the person who has been accused in the findings should resign instead making a clarification in the media. He said the government should show patience instead of getting enraged of the findings.

Sehar Kamran said National Action Plan should be fully implemented in Punjab. She said meeting between Chief of a banned organization and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is deplorable. She called for choking terror financing, geo-tagging of Islamic seminaries and repatriation of Afghan refugees to curb the menace of extremism and terrorism. 

Sassui Palijo said political will is needed to check the menace of terrorism in the country. She emphasized on complete coordination among the security agencies.

Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi said the government should follow the recommendations of the Quetta commission report and give attention to protect lives of the people of Pakistan instead of safeguarding members of the proscribed organizations.

Farhatullah Babar criticized Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for being soft on banned organizations.

Leader of the House Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq said that the members should remain confined to the findings of the report and instead they kept on accusing the Interior Minister. He said they should talk about the recommendations and suggestions made in the report.

Mir Kabir said the government should be thankful to Justice Qazi Faez Isa for giving key recommendations to eliminate the menace of terrorism. He said cross border movement without having valid travel documents should be checked.

Dr Jahanzeb Jamaldini said terrorism could only be defeated with unity and undeterred resolve. He said the tendency to hide truth and having soft corner towards terrorists should be shunned now.

Abdul Qayyum said we should not do politics on the findings of the Quetta Commission report as it has yet to be debated in the Supreme Court for further decision. He urged focus of the Senators to the recommendations of the report to curb terrorism in Pakistan. 

Those who also took part in the discussion include Usman Khan Kakar, Nehal Hashmi, Hafiz Hamdullah, Sardar Azam Khan Musakhel, Saeedul Hassan Mandokhel, Mohsin Aziz, Daud Khan Achakzai, Saleem Zia, Mushahidullah Khan, Kalsoom Parveen, Taj Haider, Attaur Rehman and Nisar Khan.

Winding up discussion, Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman said that terrorists incident have drastically been reduced in the country since the government have taken office.

He said strict action is being taken against proscribed organizations and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan held a meeting with a delegation of Difa-e-Pakistan Council headed by Maulana Sami-ul-Haq. He said Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi was also part of that delegation and the Interior Minister was not aware of that.

Baligh-ur-Rehman rejected the impression that the government is soft on proscribed organizations. He said federal government promptly share intelligence alerts with the all concerned, including provincial governments.

He said that National Action Plan is being pursued actively which is evident with the fact that executions of terrorists are continuing in the country. He said special courts were established and operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in pursuit of NAP.

The Minister of State said National Counter Terrorism Authority is also being made functional and effective to check terrorism in the country. He said recruitments in NACTA are being made to increase its reach out. He said NACTA's budget has been increased to 1.59 billion rupees this year to make it financially independent and viable.

Balighur Rehman said a helpline has been established to check hate speeches and the people can lodge their complaints on that helpline. He said over 15 thousand cases have been registered for violation of loudspeaker in the country. He said the government is also taking measures for choking terror financing for which strict monitoring is being done to check money transactions through Hawala.

He said an embargo has been imposed on the passport and arms licenses to the people on fourth schedule. He said their bank accounts have been freezed and an amount of over thirty million rupees have been seized.

He said counter terrorism force has been established and over 1100 personnel have been employed in Punjab, over seven hundred in Sindh, one thousand in Balochistan, 2200 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 168 Gilgit-Baltistan and 250 in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Commenting on seminaries' regulations, the Minister of State said hundred percent mapping has been done in Islamabad and Punjab while Sindh has completed eighty percent, KP seventy-five percent, Balochistan sixty percent. He said over two thousand madaris have been shutdown in that process.

 Balighur Rehman said all the media houses have been taken on board to check glorification of militants and a visible improvement can be noticed in this regard.

Turning on FATA Reforms, he said the government has done a lot of work in this regard by consulting all the stakeholders especially the people of FATA. The Minister of State said Pakistan has become the first country of the world for having hundred percent bio-matric SIMs. He said 98.3 million SIMs have so far been blocked.

Highlighting efforts being done to check misuse of social media, Balighur Rehman said a Cyber Crime Bill has been passed.  Turning to 15th point of NAP, he said   it would have been better had Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan consulted while compiling this report. The House will now meet tomorrow morning at 10:30.


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