ISLAMABAD - A Senate Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges was told on Monday that the statement given by Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Senate on Saudi-led military alliance was based on the information given by defence ministry and in coordination by the defence minister.

The defence secretary told the committee that the defence minister could not appear in Senate on June 2 to give a statement because he had other commitments.

The committee discussed the matter after it was referred to it by the House because ministries of defence and foreign affairs kept referring to each other and were not accepting the responsibility of replying to the calling attention notice of Senator Farhatullah Babar regarding the Islamic military alliance’s scope of operation.

The meeting was held under the chair of Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini and also attended, among others, by senators Osman Saifullah, Farhatullah Babar, Yaqoob Nasir, Ateeq Shaikh, Shahi Syed and Saleem Zia.

The matter was disposed of after hearing the defence secretary. While answering the concerns about the ministry of defence’s not giving timely and complete answers to questions, the secretary said that the ministry was dependent on its subordinate offices and the armed forces for most of the related questions and could not give answers unless the information was received from that end.

The committee also decided to hear Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Police Inspector General and senior officers of the provincial home department regarding the privilege motion of Senator Shahi Syed regarding the matter of police entering his house in his absence and lodging a case against his brother for keeping arms despite having the licences of the weapons.

Regarding information about all loans taken and written off by National Bank of Pakistan, and not taking action against the officials, the committee was told by additional secretary finance that the ministry was waiting for a response on the review appeal it has sent to Senate Chairman’s office but meanwhile it was ready to give an in-camera briefing about the matter.

He told the meeting that in the sitting of Senate, the Senate chairman has clarified that rules have no provision for any review on a ruling of the chairman and hence it stays. The committee discussed the prospects of suggesting to the Senate chairman to consider amending the rules for review of his rulings because the Banking Companies Ordinance and the law of protection of economic reform put a bar on making information about loans public.

The committee expressed displeasure over non-implementation of Senate’s food security committee’s recommendations and absence of the CDA chairman in the meeting.

The committee discussed a privilege motion by the Committee on National Food Security and Research against CDA for not implementing the recommendations of the committee on the matter of proposed conversion of 1,400 acres of NARC land by CDA into residential/commercial plots.

The committee had heard Member Estate CDA Khushal Khan in the last meeting on the matter and had summoned Chairman CDA and Secretary CADD in today’s meeting. Secretary CADD was present in the meeting while the CDA chairman did not make it to the meeting. The committee directed all relevant people to appear in the next meeting so that the matter could be sorted out.

The meeting also heard the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination on the matter of breach of privilege of Senator Shaikh Ateeq when his question wasn’t replied in Senate sitting. The ministry clarified that the wrong reply was due to an error and had nothing to do with a deliberate effort to mislead the House. However, the mover expressed his satisfaction and the matter was deferred till the next meeting when the mover will be provided with a written response.