ISLAMABAD - State Minister for Interior and Narcotics Control Balighur Rehman on Friday told the National Assembly that the government had devised a programme to install video-link trial facility in prisons of Karachi with a special focus on overcrowding in the prisons.

The minister told the House during question-hour that some 12,543 arrests had been made by the Sindh Rangers and police during the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi. During the past three months, some 8,230 raids in different areas of the port city had been made while some 83 criminals had been killed in encounters. A large quantity of arms and ammunition had also been recovered during the operations, he revealed.

He claimed crime rate had considerably decreased as a result of the targeted operations. “The federal government is extending full support to the provincial government to maintain law and order in Karachi,” he added.

The state minister disclosed all unverified SIMs in Karachi had been blocked and cellular companies had initiated biometric verification system for issuance of SIMs.

Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada told the House that there was no proposal under consideration to close down Erra. He said out of 14,513 projects‚ the authority had completed 9,580 in different sectors in the earthquake-affected areas of Azad Kashmir and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. The remaining projects were at various stages of completion, he asserted.

Riaz Pirzada said Chashma Nuclear Power Project Unit-111 would be connected to the national grid in 2016 while Chashma Nuclear Power Project Unit-1V would be commissioned in 2017.

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal said the government was taking the provinces on board to enhance allocations for social development. He added next five-year plan and Vision 2025 envisaged schemes for bringing major improvements in the education and health sectors besides ensuring access to clean water and sanitation.

Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal Khan told the House that Overseas Pakistanis remitted 6.44 billion dollars during the last four months. Most of the remittances came from Saudi Arabia and UAE, he said, adding facilities such as zero rating on transactions were being given to enhance remittances.

When asked about devaluation of rupee‚ the parliamentary secretary said initiatives like building up reserves and enhancing exports were required to strengthen rupee. He said the government had planned substantial foreign exchange inflows, including 3G licence fee‚ PTCL privatisation proceeds and loans from multi-lateral and bilateral sources.

Full realisation of these inflows would help build up foreign exchange reserves, ultimately bringing stability to exchange rates.

Later‚ the House resumed debate on the prevailing law and order situation in the country. The government had written off agricultural loans in Malakand division in 2009 on the directives of the prime minister, the National Assembly was told.

Responding to the calling attention notice moved by Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Sahibzada Tariq Ullah, Rana Afzal Khan said that according to the policy of December 2009, the small farmers having 12.5 acres of land got relief during the specified years. He said the government had not enough resources to give relief to farmers every year. He added the case of other farmers having more than 12.5 acres of land was sub judice and the House would have to wait for the court orders.

The legislators sitting on both the sides of aisle in the National Assembly asked the government to take tangible measures to bring peace to the country.

Taking part in the debate on the law and order situation, PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said the government should take all stakeholders on board and prepare a collective strategy to resolve the issue. The PTI leader, hinting at the vacant treasury benches, grilled the government for its non-serious attitude towards this very important matter.

Makhdoom Javed Hashmi said it was not a matter concerning a few people or the government; it was the issue of the entire nation and should be tackled in consultation with all the stakeholders. Taking part in the debate, Ijaz Jakhrani said, “We should have to learn lesson from our past mistakes and think for our coming generations.”

Terming the dictatorial regime of Ziaul Haq as the root cause of all problems, he said that during that regime one super power used Pakistan against the other and in that process the country had badly suffered.

He said the opposition supported the government’s initiative of dialogue with Taliban for peace and stability in the country. In case this dialogue process failed, the government should resort to other options.

Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar stressed all political parties to play a positive role to ensure peace in the country. He said that giving GSP plus status to Pakistan by the European Parliament was a result of hard work of the government in the last 4-5 months, adding its credit must go to the leadership of PML-N. He was of the view that it would help overcome unemployment and inflation in the country.

During the course of proceedings, Jamaat-e-Islami members grilled the government for what they termed criminal silence over the hanging of JI Bangladesh leader Abdul Qadir Mullah on the charges of so-called war crimes and moved a resolution to condemn the BD government’s action against the JI leaders.

JI Parliamentary Leader Tariq Ullah moved the resolution to condemn the hanging of Abdul Qadir Mullah and victimisation of JI leaders for the support they had extended to Pakistan in 1971.

The National Assembly speaker prevented the member from moving the resolution and asked him to first discuss its text and wording with the government. The resolution was then shared with Federal Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada who sought the permission of the chair for seeking input of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the matter, saying it would have direct bearing on the relations of the country with Bangladesh.

Later, with the mutual consent of the mover of the resolution and treasury, the matter was deferred till Monday.

Speaking on the matter, Javed Hashmi regretted the targeting of the JI leaders by Bangladesh and asked the government to take up the matter with that government.

The House will now meet again on Monday at 4pm.