ISLAMABAD - The main opposition party in the Senate, PPP, Tuesday staged a walkout from the House to protest alleged rigging in the by-elections on LA-22, AJK Legislative Assembly.
The walkout by the PPP was preceded by reservations of the Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsen over appointment of chief secretary and inspector general of police in Azad Kashmir at the time of by-elections. Later the House was adjourned due to lack of quorum, which was pointed out by Mukhtar Ahmed Dhamrah of PPP.
Earlier, after the question hour, the chairman and members of the house committee on defence one by one again talked about the committee’s recent visit to Balochistan.
Speaking on appoint of order, the Chairman of the Senate Defence Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed said that this was the first such visit by a high-powered parliamentary committee to places like Urmara and Gwadar in the coasts of Balochistan and he said that the visit was an eye-opener for the delegation which included representatives of both opposition and government political parties from all provinces of Pakistan.
Mushahid said that while it was positive for the government to launch the Pakistan-China economic corridor beginning from Gwadar, it was important to have a comprehensive plan linking the corridor with the coastal development of Balochistan, Pakistan’s most strategic province. He said that Pakistan’s future lies in Gwadar and the region of Gilgit-Baltistan and he said that the Pakistan Navy was playing a commendable role in promoting both national integration as well as socio-economic development by providing quality education and health care to the people living across the 750-km coast of Balochistan.
Senator Farhatullah Babar said that the Pakistan Navy’s role was quite impressive and other services should emulate the example of the Pakistan Navy which has “won the hearts and minds of the people of Balochistan”. He also called for an endowment fund to be established for running the Pakistan Navy Cadet College in Urmara which was serving as institution not only providing quality education but also promoting national integration.
Senator Rafiq Rajwana of the Pakistan Muslim League-N said that he became emotional when he saw the children of the Cadet College, Urmara performing and singing songs under the Pakistan national flag which symbolize the unity and diversity of Pakistan and its people.
Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo said that he was very happy that the Senators from other provinces of Pakistan had decided to visit remote areas of Balochistan with a view to better understanding the problems faced by the people there. He agreed that the observations of Senator Mushahid Hussain that the future of Pakistan was the economic development through Gwadar Port which could bring prosperity to Balochistan and serve as a gateway to Central Asia.
Senator Haji Adeel, who is from the ANP and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee underlined the need for providing developmental support for the underprivileged people of Balochistan, who had suffered due to exploitation and misrule by previous governments.
Senator Rauf Khan, representing PkMAP, said that the most important issue was to develop infrastructure-linking Gwadar with the rest of Balochistan including Turbat, Panjgor and Zhob, and this in turn would open up linkage between Balochistan and the rest of the provinces through a modern highway system. He urged that this project should be implemented at the earliest.
Senator Sardar Ali Khan underlined the need to rise in the budget of Pakistan Navy which he said, was suffering because it only got a meagre share of the defence budget while its role was pivotal in providing maritime security and also in promoting development and protecting the enforcement of the Balochistan coast.
Senator Sehar Kamran appreciated the role of Balochi women as equal partners of men in education as well as in the workforce and she conveyed her impressions of how Balochi women were working as teachers, doctors, and other professional capacities in the province of Balochistan.
Senator Rehman Malik of the PPP said that the Senate defence committee has taken this landmark initiative to tour Balochistan for itself and see facts on the ground.