The meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Communications was held on Wednesday. Chaired by Senator Hidayat Ullah, the meeting was attended by Senator Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Fida Muhammad, and other senior officers from the Ministry of Communications along with all concerned. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak and Senator Moula Bux Chandio were special invitees.
The meeting commenced with discussion on details of on-going projects regarding construction of motor ways in the country. Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak questioned the Ministry about violation of PEPRA Rules, lack of availability of data and quality control. He also inquired details of the agreement between Pakistan and China. The Minister of State for Communications assured the Committee that he will look into the matter and respond to all queries in detail.
While discussing the point of public importance regarding issues of land of local residence on both sides of Super Highway, the Committee was informed that work on two interchanges i.e. Malir and Memon Goth is in progress. The Committee was assured that after completion of these two interchanges the mobility of local traffic will be ensured.
Senator Moula Bux Chandio was of the view that besides this, there are many other issues that plagues the Karachi Hyderabad motorway, one of which is excessive U-turns, which makes it extremely dangerous. He said that nowhere in Pakistan are U-turns constructed on motorways.
Speaking about collection of Toll Tax from small cars along the same route, Senator Moula Bux Chandio said that despite the Committee’s directions in the last meeting there is no implementation. Senator Syed Sabir Shah was of the view that Toll Plazas at short junctions create huge traffic congestion. He suggested that it would make things convenient for travellers if Toll Tax is procured once at the beginning of the journey and once at the destination. He stressed that there will be no loss of revenue if a proper strategy is adopted.
While deliberating over issues regarding the Lowari Tunnel between Dir and Chitral Senator Usman Khan Kakar said it was extremely tedious to travel through this pass as people are held for long hours. The Committee was informed that the reason for holding traffic was to reduce carbon congestion since exhaust fans are out of order and can be dangerous for travellers.
Senator Usman Khan Kakar demanded a report on this all important issue and said that this must remain on the Committee’s agenda for as long as it is not resolved.
While discussing issues related to the Multan Sukkur Motorway the Committee demanded a copy of the framework agreement between China and Pakistan. Data regarding traffic flow of Chinese vehicles was also demanded. The Committee inquired details of who signed the agreement and whether or not they were eligible.
The Committee was informed that Mr. Ahsan Iqbal on being nominated by the Federal Cabinet signed the document.