ISLAMABAD: Four months have passed since the National Assembly (the lower house) of Pakistan came into existence, but its standing committees have not started functioning because the government is yet to finalise names of their chairpersons. It is because of the absence of functional standing committees that the government has so far failed to get even a single law passed by the assembly and has also failed to initiate the parliamentary process of financial accountability through the Public Accounts Committee. Sources said officials of the National Assembly Secretariat had been awaiting a green signal from the speaker for over a month to convene meetings of the committees for the election of the chairpersons.
The new adviser to the PPP parliamentary groups, Izhar Amrohvi, said it appeared that the ruling party was unable to finalise the names of the chairpersons due to internal rifts.
More security for Zardari
KARACHI: Former president Asif Ali Zardari was yesterday granted permission to strengthen his already tight personal security due to threats to his life. A judge in Sindh High Court in Karachi approved Zardari’s application for 100 extra licences for his bodyguards to carry weapons, on top of the official security he is entitled to as former head of state. “The judge has approved our request and ordered the federal and provincial governments to ensure security for the former president,” Abu Bakar Zardari, an aide to the president who filed a petition to the court on his behalf, said. Zardari’s wife, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated in 2007 in an attack blamed on the Pakistani Taliban. He is known to be very concerned about his personal safety and rarely moves about on the roads. When he does venture out, he travels in an entourage of more than a dozen vehicles, escorted by police commandos and three vanloads of paramilitary Rangers. His convoy also regularly includes an ambulance and a vehicle carrying signal jammers to stop anyone using a mobile phone to detonate a bomb near him. In July a suicide bomber killed Zardari’s top personal security officer in an attack in Karachi. Zardari, who is hugely unpopular in Pakistan and is nicknamed “Mr 10 Percent” due to unproven corruption allegations against him, stepped down as president last month after five years in office.
Oil price hike to hit food prices
KARACHI: Market traders have calculated at least five to 15 percent impact on imported essential food items following the increase in prices of petroleum products and persistent devaluation of rupee against the dollar since PML-N government took control from June 6, 2013. Over the past three months, oil prices have been revised upward thrice. Commodity dealers said the impact of devaluation and rising transportation cost of some items have been passed on to consumers depending on demand and supply situation. When Nawaz Sharif took charge, diesel was available at Rs105.7 per litre compared to its current price of Rs116.95. Overall petroleum products prices were raised by 10-15pc since June. Chairman, Karachi Wholesalers Grocers Association, Anis Majeed, said many traders of goods have become cautious in placing orders for imports due to uncertain rupee-dollar parity situation, making imports costlier.