NA passes Fiscal Responsibility, Debt Limitation Bill
* ARD condemns president’s statement on Kalabagh Dam issue
ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Thursday passed the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Bill 2003, and the Corporate and Industries Restructuring Corporation (amendment) Bill 2004.
The MMA members moved amendments to Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Bill, aiming to eliminate the revenue deficit and reduce the public debt.
Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, Dr Fareed Ahemd Piracha, Muhammad Hussain Menthi, Dr Attaur Rehman and others proposed amendments to clauses 2, 3 and 12 which were rejected by the majority of parliamentarians.
State Finance Minister Omar Ayub Khan called the bill a historic achievement. He said Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz was the architect of this bill and it would double spending on heath and education. Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy’s chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim stressed bringing in traffic laws to reduce accidents. He said he had submitted an adjournment motion on the issue which must be taken up early.
Legislators from the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD) criticised President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s recent statement about the Kalabagh Dam during a public gathering in Nowshera and said that he had violated the Constitution.
Speaking on a point of order, ARD members said three provincial assemblies had passed resolutions against the proposed dam and warned that it could endanger the federation.
Mujib Pirzada and Qurban Ali Shah from the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) said that according to articles 153, 154 and 155 of the constitution water disputes between the provinces should be sent to the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
They added that the president was acting on his own instead of taking up the matter with CCI or parliament. The PPPP leaders proposed that a dam be constructed in Skardu against which no province had objections.
Dr Sher Afgan Niazi, federal minister for parliamentary affairs said the president should immediately announce this mega dam as all technical experts had approved the project. He said all provinces agreed to the water sharing formula in 1991 during a CCI meeting chaired by former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and even the PPP member Shah Mehmood Qureshi had signed the document. Dr Niazi said that the Kalabagh Dam would store of 6.2 million acre feet of water and serve as a major source of irrigation and power generation.
Earlier Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy and the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) staged separate token walkouts when the speaker barred them from speaking on the subject. But later they were allowed to make brief statements on the issue.