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Pakistanis enjoy visa free access to 46 countries: minister

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Law Shahadat Awan on Thursday told that Pakistanis enjoyed visa free access to 46 countries. He said efforts were afoot to further improve the image of Pakistan in the world.

Speaking in the Senate, the minister of state assured the house during question hour that the present government had initiated strict action against illegal housing societies.

He said those who hoodwinked the masses would not be spared and they would land in prisons. He said cases of illegal housing societies were before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). He said a campaign had also been started to create awareness amongst masses about the illegal housing societies.

Shahadat Awan further informed that the Korang Bridge project on Islamabad Expressway would be completed by the end of the year.

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The minister of state for law said the contract for the project was awarded in September 2020. However, the contractor slowed down work on the project because of price escalation in construction material. He said the contract had now been assigned to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

Responding to another question, the minister said beggary had been reduced to a great extent in the federal capital territory. He said two anti-beggary squads had been established to apprehend the beggars. He said the patrolling system within Islamabad had been revamped and SHOs of all the police stations had been strictly directed to utilise their mobiles as well as staff from Rescue 15 to curb this menace.

Shahadat Awan said action had also been taken against the gang leaders of beggars. Cases had been registered against them and they had also been sentenced, he maintained.

“The government has also established shelter homes in the federal capital for the poor and needy people. He said there are also centers for rehabilitation of women and children,” he said.

Minister for Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique said new aircraft were being inducted into the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) to improve its performance.

He said there was no proposal under consideration to sell out the assets of the national flag carrier.

Saad Rafique said it was the government’s effort to operationalise this year about 300 rooms of Hotel Roosevelt. He said, “We want to enter into a joint venture for the complete revival of this hotel which will help bring revenue to the country.”

The minister for railways and aviation said 134 kilometers rail track of the Sibi-Harnai-Khost section has been completed. He said the government had to install a bridge on this section. However, operationalisation of this section was linked with the security situation, he maintained.

Responding to points raised by the opposition leader Shahzad Wasim, Leader of House in the Senate Azam Nazeer Tarar said it was the PTI government which victimized political opponents during its tenure. He said a case was registered against Shehbaz Gill as per the law for inciting mutiny in a state institution.

Assuring there will be no custodial torture of the PTI leader, he, however said nobody can be allowed to escape investigation and that the law will take its course in the case.

The house will now meet tomorrow at 10:30 am.

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