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Senate panel directs LG to transfer IMC's funds soon.

ISLAMABAD -- A Senate panel on Monday directed the local government and the civic body in the federal capital to resolve their differences within two weeks apart from transferring the former's funds. The finance ministry was also directed to resolve the financial issue permanently in the next budget.

Moreover, the committee expressed its displeasure over the harassment of visitors by police officers at the capital's recreational sites. This was directed by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior which met on Monday. The committee was chaired by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator and former federal interior minister Rehman Malik.

During the meeting, issues of resource distribution, administration and legal demarcation between the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) came up.

The members remarked that since the IMC and the CDA were created as two separate entities, why were the former made dependent on the latter for funds. He said that it was disturbing to learn that both organisations have failed to resolve their differences. As a result, he said, citizens were facing difficulties. The IMC and CDA were directed to resolve their differences within two weeks apart from transferring all of IMC's due funds within this period.

Further, the finance ministry was directed to resolve the financial issues between the two institutions and stressed that funds should be separately allocated to the IMC and the CDA in the next budget.

The committee also decided to review the details of chair lift being built from Islamabad to Pir Sohawa.

Harassing visitors

At one point, it used to be the monkeys at Pir Sohawa, Daman-e-Koh and Monal who used to approach visitors and steal their food or other small valuables. But now they face competition from police, about whom members of the standing committee said, they were receiving a number of complaints of harassment. During the meeting, it was disclosed that police officers often harass visitors by trying to smell their mouths for telltale signs of liquor or narcotic consumption or demanding that couples visiting the scenic sites to show their marriage contracts (nikkahnama).

Members of the committee expressed their displeasure at such harassment of visitors and termed it a violation of the public's rights.

The committee's chairman stated that there was an urgent need for promoting tourism in the country, but such measures by the police would only discourage visitors, adding that such conduct of the police officers was unfair for the visitors.

Malik asked the police to stop bothering families who were visiting Monal and Daman-e-Koh. He added that it was the duty of the government to provide inexpensive entertainment facilities to the people and to ensure security.

In this regard, he directed that the road heading to Monal should be widened to lower the chance of traffic accidents on its sharp, narrow bends.

He also directed CDA and IMC to set up mini-picnic points in the Margalla Hills which can be easily approached at cheap rates since the common man cannot afford to drive his family to Monal or other expensive picnic points.


Noting that all the four provinces of the country have food authorities to control the quality of foodstuff being provided, Malik said that it was concerning that only the residents of the federal capital had access to such an authority to ensure the quality of food.

As a result, Malik said, residents of the capital were being provided with unhygienic and hazardous milk and meat. Such was the situation, the Senator said, that people wonder whether the meat they are procuring is halal or from a healthy animal.

He asked the CDA to set up a separate slaughterhouse in the federal capital within two months so that residents can at least access fresh, healthy and quality meat.

The IMC was directed to design a system for slaughterers and veterinarians within three months.

Malik suggested that Senator Mian Ateeq Shaikh should coordinate the project. The committee's chairman also took notice in the hike of membership fee of the Islamabad Club and asked the reason behind the increase. Malik added that there should be a special concession for press and government officials apart from capping the registration fee at Rs150,000. Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi said that the club had been formed to facilitate the public and directed to present a report in a week.
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Publication:The Express Tribune (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 22, 2019
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