NA committee disapproves APO’s windup

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday – August 12, 2020
ISLAMABAD: The national assembly (NA) standing committee on cabinet secretariat unanimously disapproved, Tuesday, the decision of the government to windup abandoned property organisation (APO) and Aik Hunar Aik Nagar.

According to an official statement, the committee met with NA member (MNA) Kishwer Zehra, in the chair at the parliament house.

The committee was unanimously of the view that instead of winding up the APO, the properties of those who have forsaken their Pakistani nationality and shifted to Bangladesh, should be distributed to those who opted to remain Pakistanis and abandoned their Bangladeshi properties in 1971.

The chairperson directed the cabinet division special secretary to ensure the provision of details of the performance of the APO especially the detail of sale of the properties, under litigation cases regarding these properties, and the funds utilisation in this regard besides properties encroached.

The committee also expressed its displeasure on the 361-properties non-retrievable in Karachi and asked for a probe into the matter and to identify those responsible for that encroachment.

The committee unanimously suggested making a committee to be headed by an ex-chief justice to resolve the issues related with abandoned properties. 

The members suggested resolving the problems being faced by affectees of the 1971 war who left Bangladesh for the love of Pakistan.

The committee also directed cabinet division not to proceed with sale of APO properties till final nod by the standing committee. The committee vowed to protect the rights of citizens of Pakistan through parliamentary oversight.

The committee while discussing the agenda related to malpractices in the affairs of National Testing Service (NTS) and other testing services, directed to bring reform in the NTS and other testing agencies to ensure transparency and impartiality in the recruitment process.

The committee constituted a sub-committee headed by MNA Iradat Sharif to discuss the issues of mismanagement in the testing agencies especially NTS .

While discussing the recovery of mortgaged-backed security bill, 2020, the chair directed to uphold the interests of the lower income class especially in the matter of mortgage as concerned officers of Naya Pakistan Housing Authority (NPHA) and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) briefed the committee in this regard.

The committee, however, allowed the NPHA to withdraw bill on the pretext of improvement and updating.

Meanwhile, the Public Procurement Regularity Authority (PPRA) officers briefed the standing committee regarding the public procurement regularity (amendment bill), 2020.

The chair directed PPRA concerned to brief the members in the next meeting in detail about these amendments especially regarding the disposal of public assets as it directly attached with the common public interests. 

The discussion on the constitution (amendment) bill 2018 and the constitution (amendment) bill, 2019 was deferred till the next meeting.

The committee while discussing the civil servants (amendment) bill 2020, moved by MNA Jam Abdul Karim, which sought imposition of ban on appointing of dual national holders in the services of Pakistan, the committee members were of the view that dual nationality should not be allowed only for the parliamentarians but also for all those who deal in sensitive national matters.

The chair directed to seek the opinion of law and justice ministry in this matter.

The committee decided to invite special assistant to prime minister (SAPM) on institutional reform Ishrat Hussian, and federal education and professional training/convener cabinet committee on implementation of reforms Shafqat Mehmood, for in its next meeting to discuss the winding-up.

The committee meeting was attended by Cabinet minister-in-charge Ali Muhammad Khan, MNAs Ali Nawaz Awan, Tahir Sadiq, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Uzma Riaz, Rana Iradat Sharif Khan, Shahnaz Saleem Malik, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, Syed Mehmood Shah, Mohsin Darwar and senior officers from cabinet, establishment, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and other concerned departments.