Defence Committee briefed on fencing of border with Afghanistan

April 17, 2017

ISLAMABAD (NNI):  The Senate Defence Committee met today under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed and it passed the Pakistan Air Force (Amendment) Bill, 2017 with one dissenting note of Senator Farhatullah Babar.

This bill had already been passed by the National Assembly.

The Defence Committee was briefed on the plan of fencing the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, which, in the initial phases, would include 700 km out of the total 2600 km. The fencing would be done at the cost of Rs.20 million per km and this fencing would include lighting as well as establishment of security posts in 3 years.

The Defence Committee was also briefed by the Ministry of Defence on defence budget and its utilization under its various heads.  The defence budget which forms 17.5% of the total national budget, allocates 47% to the Army, 21% to the Air Force and a little over 10% to the Navy.

The Committee also took up the issue of 21 employees of the Survey of Pakistan whose services were terminated and their cases are being reviewed and they will now be allowed to appear in another exam to be held on June 8, 2017 so as to ensure that all of them get equal opportunity to get justice.

The meeting also took up the case of the residents of Loralai Cantonment who were evicted from their homes and in this regard, a special meeting of the Senate Defence Committee would be held during the next fortnight to resolve the issue at the earliest. The Committee was also briefed on the establishment of 3 new Cantonments in Swat and the Committee directed that the issue of residents of Khawazakhela be resolved amicably.

The Committee expressed concern that the Defence Committee of the Cabinet had ceased to exist since it was replaced by the National Security Committee and it underlined the need for a clear cut, comprehensive, well laid out national defence policy.  In this regard, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mushahid Hussain directed that a special meeting be held of the Senate Defence Committee to get input from the Ministry of Defence as well as its own members for the formulation of a national defence policy for Pakistan.

The Senate Defence Committee which had taken the initiative of medical treatment abroad of Mr. Mubashir Subhan, son of Subedar Subhanuddin, a victim of the Army Public School act of terrorism, appreciated the role of the Ministry of Defence and the Prime Minister's Office for authorizing funds of over 30,000 Euro for the medical treatment of Mr. Mubashir in a specialized hospital in Germany.

The meeting welcomed the induction of Senator Salim Mandviwala as a new member in place of Senator Farooq Naek.  The meeting was attended by Senators Col. (R) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Lt. Gen. (R) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Lt. Gen(R) Abdul Qayyum, Javed Abbasi, Farhatullah Babar, Mrs. Sehar Kamran, Brig (R) John Kenneth Willians and special invitees Senators Usman Khan Kakar and Sardar Azam Khan Musakhel, The Ministry of Defence team was led by its Secretary, Lt. Gen. (R) Zamirul Hasan Shah, Additional Secretary, Air Vice Marshal (R) Babar, Survey General,  and Additional Secretary, Military Land & Cantonment. NNI