7000 stranded Pakistanis to be brought back home before Eid, NA told


Islamabad: May 15, 2020 (TNS): The National Assembly was informed on Friday that seven thousand stranded Pakistanis will be brought back home before Eid.

This was informed by Minister for Aviation Division Ghulam Sarwar Khan, while responding to various points raised by the parliamentarians.

He said thousands of stranded Pakistanis, including students, workers, members of Tableeghi Jamaat, and pilgrims, from across the globe have been repatriated. He said Pakistani prisoners from Oman and the United Arab Emirates were brought back free of cost. He said Aviation Division operated 181 inbound flights and took over 25,000 passengers to their destinations in 27 countries. He said around 250 students from Wuhan and China will be repatriated through special flight on Monday.

Taking part in the discussion, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Amir Dogar said the government should announce support prices for agricultural produce. He said seeds and fertilizers should be provided on subsidized rates. He said giving priority to agriculture is vital to uplift economy of the country.

Amir Dogar said health workers and members of district administrations, who are on the forefront in dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, should be awarded civil awards.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Ahsan Iqbal said serious and collective efforts are needed to prevent spread of the Coronavirus. He said the government should have evolved a comprehensive policy to combat COVID-19. He said chartered planes should be dispatched to repatriate stranded Pakistanis from various countries.

Ahsan Iqbal proposed that local governments in Punjab should immediately be restored and the federal government should declare education emergency, reduce petroleum, electricity, and gas prices to provide relief to the common people in wake of COVID-19.

In his remarks, Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Dr. Babar Awan said no bill or draft to amend 18th amendment is under consideration.

Giving historic background of constitutional amendments, he said several amendments were made in the constitution in past as it is permitted under the Constitution. He, however, said no amendments repugnant to divine laws, enunciated in the Holy Quran and Hadith, can be made.

The Adviser said the government will welcome reasonable suggestions from the Opposition to amend NAB law.

He also assured the House that recommendations of the National Assembly will be sent to relevant quarters. He said a special session before the Budget Session of the House will be convened to finalize recommendations of the Parliament to combat Corona.

The Adviser said the government undertook intensive consultation process over the issue of Covid-19. He said President Dr. Arif Alvi took Ulema and Mashaikh into confidence as a result of which a roadmap was prepared to ensure social distancing and other precautionary measures in mosques and during other religious activities.

Participating in the discussion, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Dr. Fehmida Mirza said a uniformed national policy should be evolved under cooperative federalism to combat Covid-19. She said national food security should be strengthened and provinces have to play a role in this regard. She said empowering of local bodies can help reach out needy people in far flung areas.

The Minister said provincial finance commission should be announced so that every part of the country can get maximum benefits from dividends of NFC.

Shazia Marri of Pakistan Peoples Party emphasized on strengthening health infrastructure in the country to prevent spread of Coronavirus. She said it should be ensured that every frontline soldier has personal protection equipment. She said a unified and consensus policies should be evolved in this regard.

Expressing resentment on appointment of Javed Jabber to represent Balochistan in NFC award, Aslam Bhootani said a local person should be nominated to represent the province.

Earlier, National Assembly resumed its session at the Parliament House in Islamabad on Friday with Presiding Officer Amjad Ali Khan Niazi in the chair.

It is discussing the situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic.

The session is being held under strict adherence of health guidelines and standard operating procedures to ensure safety of the members and the Assembly staff.

Planning Minster Asad Umar has said Pakistan has achieved the capacity of conducting over 15,500 Corona tests per day and 70 laboratories are fully functioning in the country.

In his remarks in the National Assembly, he said over one thousand ventilators are being added to the existing health facilities to treat the Corona affected patients.

Around one hundred thousand health workers, including doctors, nurses, and paramedics regarding correct use of Personal Protection Equipment, while five thousand intensive care unit workers will be trained to handle Corona patients.

Regarding government’s relief efforts, Asad Umar said the PTI government has given the biggest relief package of country’s history.

The Minister said federal government is working in close coordination with the provincial government in efforts to combat Coronavirus.

The House has been prorogued.