Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator A. Rehman Malik in Committee meeting today on Thursday welcomed the caretaker Federal Interior Minister Azam Khan in the committee meeting and applauded him for his services as Chief Secretary and on other key posts during his career. He said that he hopes that caretaker minster will meet the expectations of whole nation and all political parties. Minister for Interior Azam Khan thanked Senator A. Rehman Malik for the warm welcome and said that he will continue to serve the nation purely on merit.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator A. Rehman Malik here at the Parliament House and was attended among others by Senator Javed Abbasi, Senators Mian Ateeq Sheikh, Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed, Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Senator Muhammad Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Haji Momin Khan Afridi and Senator Kalsoom Parveen.
Caretaker Federal Interior Minister Azam Khan, Secretary Interior, Director General NADRA, officials from FIA, Chief Commissioner Islamabad, Inspector General Police Motorway and Highway Police, DIG Traffic Islamabad, and others prominent officials from Ministry of Interior and Law attended the meeting and apprised the committee on their relevant issues.
Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati while raising the issue of removing the name of Zulfiqar Bukhari (Zulfi Bukhari) said that his party chairman had not made any telephone call for the removal of Zulfi Bukhari’s name from ECL. Senator A. Rehman Malik said that he in the previous meeting of the committee has referred the issue of removing Zulfi Bukhari from ECL to a sub-committee to be coordinated by Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmed to submit a report to the committee within three days. He added that as per his information the Zulfi Bukhari name was not placed on ECL but he was placed in blacklist while blacklist has no legal status. Senator A. Rehman Malik said if Ministry of Interior had not informed Zulfi Bukhari about placing his name in ECL or black list then the mistake is at their part rather Zulfi Bukhari.
While briefing the committee on the issue of Zulfi Bukhari, Minister for Interior Azam Khan said that he himself granted permission Zulfi Bukhari to travel abroad. He said that Zulfi Bukhari had requested for a one-time permission to travel abroad, which was granted by him. He said that the interior secretary told him that Zulfi Bukhari had submitted an affidavit stating that he would return to Pakistan so he was granted permission to travel for six days.
He further told the committee that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is probing a case pertaining to offshore companies against Zuklfi Bukhari. Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior Senator A. Rehman Malik expressed satisfaction over the briefing by Minister for Interior and said that certainly blacklist has no legal status.
Chief Commissioner Islamabad briefed the committee about the structure and functions of the Islamabad administration and its attached departments. Chairman Committee Senator A. Rehman Malik asked about checking the quality of food and price control adding that he has news that adulterated milk and dead animals’ meat is being sold in Islamabad. He directed the Chief Commissioner to adopt prompt measures to get rid of this heinous crime. He said that he has the news that even shampoo are mixed in the milk even milk is prepared artificially using injurious chemicals. The members of the Committee showed concern regarding numerous issues that are faced by citizens of Islamabad. Special interest was taken in the mechanism that is used by ICT administration for quality control of food and beverages as well as monitoring of food prices. Chairman Committee, Senator Malik stressed the importance of a strategy that would ensure and maintain quality of food items in Islamabad. Chairman Committee questioned the Chief Commissioner as what mechanism is applied to check the rates of food items and what measures have been taken by the capital administration to block the distribution of substandard food items. Chief Commissioner Islamabad showed dismay over the CDA administration saying that both CDA and Municipal Corporation Islamabad (MCI) were not ready to accept their due responsibilities and he had never seen Islamabad dirty as much he has been witnessing in last three years. Regarding the increase in pollution levels and deterioration of natural habitat in Islamabad Chairman Committee, Senator Malik called for a meeting and summoned chiefs of CDA, CADD, Mayor of Islamabad and Chief Commissioner ICT. He expressed concerns over the failure of ICT administration to extinguish fires that broke out in the Margalla Hills last week which destroyed trees in thousands. Chief Commissioner Islamabad told the committee that neither CDA nor the MCI was accepting the responsibility to extinguish the fire nor both had the capability. Chairman Committee directed an inquiry into the incident of fire in Margalla Hill which he witnesses every year saying the responsible officials should dealt under the law.
While taking the issue of private housing societies in Islamabad, Committee expressed grave concerns over the misappropriation in the societies and looting the poor. Chairman Committee said that taking strict actions against those builders of housing societies who have looted the poor people and exploited them is need of the hour adding that poor save their money for years and some black sheep among the builders loot them heartlessly. He directed FIA to initiate inquiry into those societies who have not yet allotted plots to their customers despite of receiving money.
Chairman Committee, Senator Malik gave instructions to summon Chairman CDA and Chief Commissioner Islamabad so that an in-depth review of the encroachment issue and Housing Societies could be taken. He further sought input from different agencies and said that it was imperative that a huge operation be conducted to resolve the matter.
Raising the issue of VVIP movements in Islamabad, members of the Committee were of the view that there is a dire need for amendment in rules since curbing traffic for unlimited period of time in the guise of security threats is a breach of rights of Islamabad residents
Senator Maqbool Ahmed while discussing the role of the police and other law enforcement agencies while implementing laws stressed the need for working as an autonomous body. He said that in order to ensure implementation of law it was imperative to devise a strategy whereby police personnel are sensitized about their role and powers so that interference in police work is curbed. Chairman Committee, Senator Malik while seconding these views stressed the need for improving the system.
While discussing the report by the Ministry of Interior on Public Petition No F(001)/2018-PP-2256-(PPT) regarding the matter of driving commercial vehicles without a valid commercial license on highways and motorways, Chairman Committee, Senator Malik stated that since it was imperative that the petitioner, who was based in the US, be present the agenda item was deferred until the petitioner could be taken on conference call. He however, stressed the need to make the procedure for issuing drivers license fool proof. He also asserted the importance of insurance and further stated that an e-system should be introduced to regulate traffic violations.
While taking up the issue of three minor girls who strayed in the Cholistan desert and died of harsh conditions, Chairman Committee, Senator Malik took strict notice of the absence of IG police Punjab. He instructed SSP Punjab (Rawalpindi) that the IG must be present in the next meeting in which family members of the victims would be summoned too.
Committee also sought a detailed report on the construction of Safa Gold Mall, The Centaurus Mall and other big malls and buildings in Islamabad which are reportedly constructed illegally.