The Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs in its meeting on Monday discussed in detail issues pertaining to the Federal and Provincial maritime jurisdiction. Chairman Committee, Senator Nuzhat Sadiq said that determining this was of prime importance as there are numerous issues that stem from it.
While discussing issues that have plagued the maritime and fishery sectors for long, the Committee was informed that since Pakistan lags behind in technology; sustainability is impossible, which leads to massive wastage. The Deep Sea Fishing Policy has banned Bottom Sea trawling to protect marine life that is growing extinct. In addition to marine life, members stressed the need for the Ministry to take measures to develop coastal population in Balochistan. The Committee was informed that ambiguity and overlapping in laws and responsibilities has become a major challenge which must be addressed. Minister for Maritime Affairs, Mr. Ali Zaidi said that capacity building was imperative for this. The Committee gave directives that Chief Secretary Balochistan must be summoned for clarity on this issue.
While taking up the point of Public Importance regarding non-payment to the workers of Port Qasim Authority raised by Senator Usman Khan Kakar, the Committee was informed that firstly the difference between working at Port Qasim and working for Port Qasim must be determined. The Ministry was of the opinion that these were employees of the Sahiwal Coal Project who were working at Port Qasim. The Committee was informed that the Ministry had discussed the matter with the Chinese, according to which 85 employees were verified, as opposed to the 1800 claimed. The Ministry informed the Committee that the Chinese are baffled by this issue and may as a result shut the plant and request the Government of Pakistan to allow import of labour from China for this project. The Ministry suggested that pointers of the workers demands and issues pertaining to it be submitted to it so that these may be addressed amicably.
While discussing the issue of the development of Gwadar, the Committee was informed that despite slow progress as pointed out by the members, currently Gwadar is at a point where development will occur speedily. Many projects are due to be completed by 2020, it asserted.
The meeting was presided over by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq. Members present were Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Shamim Afridi, Senator Usman Khan Kakar and senior officers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs along with all concerned.