ISLAMABAD: The Senate on Monday unanimously passed a resolution, asking the government to discuss water disputes with India at all levels, including the composite dialogue, because it is a matter of life and death for Pakistan.
PPP’s Senator Sughra Imam moved the resolution, saying the country is confronting a big challenge of water shortage along with terrorism. She said India had signed a water agreement with Pakistan but kept violating it. “India has made several dams on Pakistan’s rivers but never shared their designs with Pakistan. If Pakistan is unable to raise these water-related disputes with India at proper international forums, then it will stay in great trouble,” the senator said.
She noted that water is important for Pakistan’s food security and agriculture, which is the backbone of the country’s economy. The ministries of commerce and foreign affairs, she said, should raise the water issues with India whenever they are in talks with that country. Speaking on the occasion, Leader of House Raja Zafarul Haq said water is Pakistan’s lifeline and without it there will be no prosperity in the country. “The incumbent government has already included water disputes in the composite dialogues with India and is taking these matters seriously,” Haq said.
JUI-F’s Senator Talha Mehmood observed that Pakistan has lost its case at international forum over disputes with India over water due its own weaknesses. “Water dispute is like a bomb for Pakistan, having serious consequences for people lives. The control of five rivers is now with India and whenever they want they will release and stop the flow of water to Pakistan,” he warned. PML-Q’s Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, meanwhile, said that Pakistan should review its decision to grant the Most-Favoured Nation status to India.
He questioned why is the government in a hurry to grant MFN status to India despite New Delhi’s continuous violation of water accords. The Senate also unanimously passed a private member bill - the Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013 – which seeks to ensure the practice of “outsourcing” of Pakistani civil servants to international organisations is ceased and they serve the state of Pakistan only in their official capacity.
Syeda Sughra Imam of the PPP presented the bill to further amend the Civil Servants Act, 1973 [The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2014 in the House. New section 10A was inserted in Act LXXI of 1973 which says, a civil servant shall not serve an International Organization, International Non-Governmental Organization, International Financial Institution in foreign donor agency during his service.
However, the bill provided that the aforesaid restriction shall not apply to the Civil Servant, who is posted or deputed in international organizations on behalf of the country. The statement of Objects and Reasons of the bill says that a civil servant, who is in the service of Pakistan must have undivided loyalty to the state of Pakistan. Therefore, when the civil servant takes leave of absence from his official duties and starts working for international organizations while continuing to be a civil servant, it is tantamount to a conflict of interest. He can misuse his concurrent government position to influence policies.
Meanwhile, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi rejected the speculation about the signing of an agreement for purchase of energy on high prices on the pressure of a friendly country. Speaking on a motion, the minister said,” No contract has been signed with anybody for the purchase of energy. Similarly, no issue of price fixation for energy has been discussed with anybody.” “We are going to procure LNG on the lowest price.
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