Islamabad, 27th of October, 2021:- A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed here at Parliament House today* .
At outset of the meeting Chairman Committee appreciated Pakistan Cricket Team’s remarkable performance against India and New Zealand and also felicitated the whole nation for such an emphatic victory. Chairman Committee Rana Maqbool Ahmed termed the cricket team’s victory as “Unimaginable Achievement”.
Chairman committee further informed the members that Indian government and the Hindutva clergy have taken this Pakistani victory as a pinch of salt which speaks volumes about the Indian myopic mindset and lack of sportsmanship spirit. “It's a matter of sorrow that strong violent reactions are witnessed in the Indian cities In general and in Mega, Indian Occupied Kashmir. In Srinagar, cases are registered against the students of colleges and universities for the innocent student’s mere, celebration and the happiness over the victory of Pakistani Team. There is a trajectory of Indian atrocities against the innocent students, young men and elderly people living in the IOJ&K. Flagrant violation of human rights is being perpetrated against the courageous Kashmiri people.
The Committee unanimously passed its resolution condemning in strongest possible terms the Indian inhumane and illegal actions against the Indian Muslims and Kashmiri youth.
Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority briefed the committee members regarding privatization of PTCL. Chairman PTA said that 26% shares of PTCL were privatized in 2006 through a bidding process. Etisalat acquired these shares. Committee was further informed that around 800 million proceeds of privatization have still not been recovered from Etisalat. As per the agreement total of 3263 properties were to be transferred to Etisalat out of which 3230 properties have been transferred and 33 properties could not be transferred due to certain unavoidable circumstances. Chairman Committee expressed his reservations regarding the whole process of privatization and commented that “why public money is still languishing from last 15 years. Someone must be held accountable for this delay”. Chairman PTA informed the committee members that matter comes under the ambit of Privatization Commission and Ministry of Finance.
Chairman Committee directed to summon the officials of Privatization Commission along with all the related record of PTCL privatization in the next meeting of the committee.
Committee also took up the matter of health hazards caused by mobile transmission towers of telecommunication companies. Chairman PTA informed that safety guidelines regarding height and power intensity of such equipment have been issued to companies as per global practice for compliance and authority also monitors the situation independently.
Chairman PTA further informed that 4G mobile licenses have been issued to mobile companies for providing fast mobile broadband services in AJK and GB.
Committee also discussed recent exorbitant price hike in petrol & diesel products, causes and remedial measures to reduce the suffering of poor people.
Chairman committee questioned chairman OGRA as to why LNG supplies were not secured in January this year when prices were very low to which Chairman OGRA replied that 70 pc of the supplies are secured through long term contracts but 30% are based on, on-spot purchase as per global practice. Committee members’ questioned Chairman OGRA regarding recent hike in petroleum products which is causing great wave of inflation in Pakistan. Chairman OGRA was of the view that increase in prices of petroleum internationally and devaluation of the currency are the main reasons behind the hike in prices locally. Chairman Committee questioned as to why the oil marketing companies are allowed to sell their products at increased rates when they already have previously purchased stocks which they had bought at lower rates. Chairman OGRA argued that same goes for when the prices are reduced. Oil marketing companies sell their products at lower prices when the prices of oil are reduced locally.
Chairman Committee asked Chairman OGRA to play his part for providing relief to the common public which is already under huge burden due to the ever rising inflation. Chairman Committee Rana Maqbool Ahmed expressed his dissatisfaction over explanation provided by OGRA officials and decided to discuss the matter further in the next meeting of the committee.
The committee also discussed recent exorbitant price hike of electricity in the country. Chairman NEPRA was questioned by committee members regarding inefficiency of LESCO and other distributions companies chairman NEPRA said that all the distribution companies come under direct control of Ministry of Power which is relevant Forum for these kinds of queries and NEPRA does not have the power to hold accountable or remove heads of these distribution companies. Chairman NEPRA attributed these recent price hikes to Line losses and theft. He further said authority has already recommended to the Government for privatization all the electricity distribution companies.
Chairman Committee said that electricity bills have swollen beyond the reach of common man and consumers are being charged for Line Losses which is very unfair.
Public Petition regarding framing of recruitment rules in respect of regularization of civil gazetted officers of BPS -17 HOS frontier corps KP (South) was also taken up. Chairman committee directed officials of establishment division to resolve the matter at earliest in coordination with the with ministry of finance and ministry of Interior.
Discussion on Public petition pertaining to PTDC was deferred due to absence of officials from the government of Baluchistan.
The Chairman Committee lamented the continued absence of chief secretary Baluchistan and directed to write a letter to him for the last time or the law will take its course.
The committee was attended by Senators, Saifullah Sarwar Khan Nyazee, Kamil Ali Agha , Sarfaraz Ahmed Bhugti, Khalida ATeeb, Moula Bux Chandio , Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Saadia Abbasi, Muhammad Talha Mahmood, Officials from Cabinet Secretariat, Chairman OGRA, Chairman NEPRA and Chairman PTA .