PAC dissatisfied over NA building renovation

ISLAMABAD – The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over substandard renovation work being carried out at National Assembly ahead of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting scheduled to be held on March 22.

The matter came under discussion in a meeting of the PAC held under the chair of MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain. The committee members were of the view that the wooden desks & doors are being replaced with chipboard, leather with rexine and carpeted floors with “third-class tiles” in the name of renovation of the lower house.

It is pertinent to mention here that at present the National Assembly and its lobbies are being renovated with an estimated cost of Rs700 million.

PML-N’s Khawaja Muhammad Asif complained that the building is being deprived of its historic touch and cultural heritage on the name of renovation.

The PAC ordered the secretaries of the National Assembly and foreign ministry as well as the chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA) to brief the committee about the renovation work.

Asif regretted that historic furniture and other things are being replaced with artificial things. “Who knows how much of Rs700 million is being embezzled. Why are you replacing wood with chipboard, leather seats with rexine and carpeted floors with third-class tiles,” he said while lamenting that all the roughly three-decade old wooden furniture needed was polish.

“Is the renovation work being carried out for the conference or to halt no-confidence motion,” PML-N’s Mushahid Hussain Sayed questioned in the PAC.

Other committee members added that the House of Commons in England was hundreds of years old yet special attention was still being given to preserve its historic furniture, decorative arts collection and the building itself. The members were of the opinion that emotional, cultural and historical value of such places increases with the passage of time.

After the meeting, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said that parliamentarians come and go but the National Assembly building is a symbol of democracy.

He said that parliaments all over the world preserve their history and restore their architecture instead of uprooting it and replacing it with new things.

He said a proper list should be prepared to identify that such and such item should not be touched while rest of the things can be renovated.

The PAC Chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain directed the officials concerned to apprise the committee about the project. The issue of renovation surfaced when PAC was examining the audit paras of the Ministry of Housing and Works.

During the meeting, the secretary and the director general PWD were also grilled by the Rana Tanveer over their contradictory statements on the same issue. The chairman directed the secretary to complete the inquiry on the issue of excess payment of Rs1,111,976 million.

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