ISLAMABAD: PPP/PTI backed independent and so-far unheard-of senator from Balochistan Sadiq Sanjrani has sworn-in as Senate Chairman today here. He bagged 57 votes while PML-N candidate veteran politician Senator Raja Zafar-ul-Haq mustered-up 46.
Sanjrani’s election (though apparently a result of massive horse trading) is historical in the sense that he is the first Baloch to win the chairmanship of the upper house.
PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla managed to beat PML-N-backed Usman Khan Kakar (a Senator of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party) by securing 54 votes against Kakar’s 44. It is pertinent to mention here that MQM that faced a dramatic defeat in the senate elections opted to abstain from the deputy’s election.
PS: Sons also rise! Sons of PM and PTI MNA Hamid-ul-Haq created an unpleasant scene when they got involved in a brawl after hearing the results.
RELEVANT PIECE PUBLISHED EARLIER
ITP’s poor strength undermines efficiency: SSP
ISLAMABAD: Senior Superintendent Police (SSP) Furukh Rashid Monday underlining the need to improve the strength of Islamabad Traffic Police (ITP) said the dearth of officials was undermining the efficiency with traffic problems worsening with each passing day.
“The traffic flow has increased almost seven times in 13 years and the staff’s strength gradually decreases from 685 to 628 due to the retirement of some officials,” he said in an interview with APP.
The ITP, on its inception in 2005 with 685 officials, was mandated to control 125,000 registered vehicles of the capital besides those coming from different cities. Now, the city exclusively owns some 900,000 vehicles and also bears the burden of those coming from other parts of the country. The situation, he said, requires urgent reinforcement of the ITP.
Farrukh said over 2,000 traffic wardens at some 506 points of the federal capital were required to handle daily traffic business while ITP could only manage to cover some 286 spots around the clock in two shifts and 89 points partially. “Some 131 spots mostly in rural areas go unattended, due to a shortage of staff”, he added.
Islamabad Expressway’s both sides, Tarnol, Bara Kahu, Golra and some sectors of the Capital including G-11, E-7, E-8, E-11 were among the areas where the ITP deployment remained off and on.
At least six sergeants, the SSP said, were required to be deployed at a big crossing junction while four at a small one. “Currently, the ratio is four and one respectively,” he added. The ITP’s another official regretted that the department was not getting required budget and professionals’ strength despite contributing Rs 3 million annually to the national exchequer.
Over two million was being generated from ticketing while one million in form of license fees on monthly basis, he added. Highlighting the ITP’s controlled management with limited resources, the official said “the department does not have even a single crane to remove a damaged vehicle from the road in case it requires emergency clearance.
“We are forced to use outdated fork lifters for the purpose”. he regretted.
Farrukh said 36 patrolling cars, 70 bikes, and six obsolete lifters were the entire support to cover over 906 square kilometer area. “There was no dedicated piece of land for ITP and currently it was running its affairs in a temporary office, designated for the green belt that can be removed anytime,” he said.
Answering to a query, the official said, that VVIP movements and parking issues in the capital markets were also a reason behind the ITP’s officials non-presence at some major stops.
He also termed the amount of fine on traffic violations inadequate, saying it was not helping to improve behavioral changes in violators to respect rules.
He said a recent proposal to review the number of fine tickets was sent to the quarters concerned, requesting to increase the maximum penalty to Rs 5,000 to reign motorists who commit absolute violations deliberately.
The SSP claimed that road accidents were taking more lives than natural disasters, urging the authorities concerned to bring reforms in traffic laws and ensure the provision of required staff to handle the affairs.
National Assembly Session in Islamabad
ISLAMABAD: During the National Assembly session here Finance Minister Asad Umar presented the amended finance bill for 9 months in presence of the PM.
Generation of additional revenue of 183 billion rupees is aimed in the supplementary budgetary proposals for the current financial year. According to Asad Umar, new proposals reflect the philosophy of putting no additional burden on the poor and provide relief for export-oriented industries.
He told that Rs. 92b would be collected through the use of modern technology to detect tax evasion. Measures proposed for a collection of 91 billion rupees include an increase in tax on banking transactions other than cash from the existing 0.4 to 0.6 percent, increased tax on tobacco, doubling of Federal Excise Duty on vehicles of 1800 CC and above and an increase of taxes on some luxury items and expensive mobile phone sets.
Informing that there would be no reduction in the exemption limit for income tax Finance Minister informed the existing tax rate on income slab between 1.2 to 2.4 million rupees would also be retained. However, the income tax rate for higher income slabs would be 25 percent and 29 percent.
Tax exemption for Prime Minister, Ministers, and Governors in respect of accommodation, conveyance, and sumptuary allowance have also been withdrawn.
In order to provide relief to the public the Petroleum Development Levy worth 100 billion rupees as envisaged in the current budget has been withdrawn. The regulatory duty imposed by the previous government in the budget on 82 tariff lines has been abolished for raw material meant for export-related industries providing a relief of Rs. 5b.
He told that Insaf Health Card scheme will be launched in the Federal Territory and formerly FATA on the pattern of KPK. Speaking about promised houses for public Asad Umar told that PM had given directions for the release of 4.5 billion rupees immediately for the restart of construction work on 8276 houses for workers. Approval has also been given for construction of ten thousand additional houses in the second phase.
The development budget for the current financial year is proposed to be at 725 billion rupees, which would be ten percent more than 661 billion rupees of the last financial year. Nevertheless, Asad Umer made it clear that development budget for CPEC projects and dams would not be reduced and instead, additional resources would be mobilized for construction of water reservoirs. Finance Minister lamented about the augmentation of foreign debts from 95b from 60b.
Asad Umar proposed to allow non-filers of income tax to purchase vehicles and houses. The previous government had barred the non-filers from purchasing cars and houses on their names in a bid to increase tax net. However, the government has proposed to increase the federal excise duty on all vehicles with engine displacement of 1800cc and above, from existing 10 percent to 20 percent. He proposed to increase Withholding Tax on banking transaction by non-filers from existing 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent. NA will be pondering over the proposals from Monday 24th September onwards.
He said that no cut in development budget for projects of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Diamer-Bhasha dam and Higher Education Commission was proposed in the supplementary budget. The minister said the government proposed to slash around Rs 250 billion on the development projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 to Rs 725 billion. The previous government had allocated Rs 23 billion for Diamer-Bhasha dam and Rs 46 billion for various development projects of HEC under PSDP 2018-19.
Finance Minister Asad Umar laid before the Senate a copy of The Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill, 2018. The Senators may make recommendations on the Money bill and submit them to the Senate Secretariat in three days. The West Pakistan Juvenile Smoking (Repeal) Bill, 2018 and The West Pakistan Prohibition of Smoking in Cinema Houses (Repeal) Bill, 2018 were passed today (Tuesday). The House will now meet again tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10:30 in the morning.
Commenting on the Budgetary proposal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that the budgetary proposals were balanced and would help take the country forward. He claimed that no additional burden had been put on the poor or the middle class. He further pointed out that the volume of the development budget had been maintained.
Moreover, NA passed a motion to constitute a Special Parliamentary Committee to finalize Terms of Reference (ToR) and made recommendations to investigate into the allegations of rigging in the General Elections 2018.
MNA Advocate Muhammad Ali moved the motion to give a mandate to the committee for recommending investigation procedure into alleged rigging in the general elections 2018.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that government and opposition parties have agreed to constitute a committee on the basis of equal representation. He said it was also agreed that the chairman of the committee will be nominated by the prime minister after the consultation.
He said it was also agreed that only member of the National Assembly will be a member of the committee. Qureshi thanked the opposition parties for extending cooperation for the constitution of the committee.
He said, “We do not want to keep anything hidden. It is the opposition’s rights to protest and their reservations have been registered.”
Qureshi said, “Transparent elections are imperative for democracy.” Further, he assured the House that the commission will be empowered.
“We have to move forward despite our differences,” he asserted. Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the committee would be fully authorized to carry out its work. He said the PTI had nothing to hide as it believes in strengthening the democratic norms and values.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that transparency would not be compromised under any circumstances. He said on the first day, Prime Minister Imran Khan was wanting to announce the committee, but it could not be happened due to protest of the opposition.
He said that the government believed that free, fair and transparent elections are imperative for the strengthening the democracy.
He said the goal of both the government and opposition benches is to ensure a free and fair election in the country.
Syed Naveed Qamar and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of Pakistan People’s Party and Khurram Dastgir of PML-N demanded that the head of this committee should be from the Opposition.
Responding to the points of the PPP leader, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said the committee is being constituted on the special directions of Prime Minister Imran Khan which shows his graciousness.
He said Imran Khan had demanded the opening of only four constituencies in the wake of 2013 general elections, but the PTI had to protest for it for four years.
The information minister said that the government had accepted the demand of the opposition for the constitution of the committee.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said the opposition benches should not doubt on the intention of the government. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khurram Dastgir expressed similar sentiments and demanded that Leader of the Opposition in the NA should be head of the commission.
CDA demolishes 25 illegal structures as anti encroachment operation continues
ISLAMABAD: Capital Development Authority (CDA) has demolished 25 illegal structures including marquees, workshops, markets and residential houses on the second day of the anti-encroachment drive.
The massive operation against the encroachments and illegal construction on the right of way of Kashmir Highway continued on the second day. During the operation, illegal buildings constructed in violation of CDA Building Regulations were demolished, said a press release.
The constructions which were demolished on the second day of the operation includes Golden Horse Marquee, Regalian Marquee, Occasions Marquee, Rohtaas Marquee, Four (04) huge sheds, one under construction building, one steel workshop, four (04) markets, one newly constructed building, global enterprises, Islamabad Auction, Motor workshops, one Dairaa, Waziristan Market comprising many small shops, Pana Flex Printing workshop, wood factory and five (05) residential houses constructed on the right of the way of the Kashmir Highway. Deputy Commissioner Islamabad, Muhammad Hamza Shafqat provided full assistance and played a vital role in making operation a success. During this operation several acres land retrieved.
Over 350 officials of Enforcement and other concerned formations participated in the operation, while a heavy contingent of Islamabad police, Rangers and Counter-Terrorism Force officials were also present. Heavy machinery of MPO and Environment Directorate and other formations were also utilized during the operation, it added.
Member Estate, CDA Khushal Khan, Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Muhammad Hamza Shafqat, SSP Operations Najeeb Bagvi, Director Enforcement Faheem Badshah, Director Building Control Section, Director MPO, officers of ICT Administration including Assistant Commissioners, officers of Islamabad Police and officers of concerned formations of CDA were present on this occasion. Minister of State for Interior, Shehryar Khan Afridi visited the operation site. While directing the officers of CDA, ICT Administration and Islamabad Police, he said that operation against the encroachments should continue. He further directed that CDA, ICT Administration and Islamabad Police to work as a team so that the encroachments from the city could be completely eliminated.
It is pertinent to mention here that these encroachments were established on the right of way of Kashmir Highway or constructed against the building regulations. CDA served notices several times to these illegal occupants/violators to remove these encroachments voluntarily but they did not bother to remove these encroachments failing in doing so the operation was launched. The operation against these encroachments and illegal constructions will remain to continue on Monday.