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Event Title :
Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs
Published Date :
Feb 7,2018

Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in its meeting on Wednesday discussed in detail the matters of hunting of birds by Arab Princes in Sindh and Balochistan moved by Senators Karim Ahmed Khawaja and Jehanzeb Jamaldini respectively. The Committee was given briefings on the issue by Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua, Secretary Forests, government of Balochistan and Secretary Forests and Wildlife, Government of Sindh.

The meeting was held Senator Nuzhat Sadiq in the chair and was attended among others by Senators Karim Ahmed Khawaja, Momin Khan Afridi, Tahir Hussain Mashhadi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

The Committee was told that a number of SOPs have been prepared time and again but their implementation remains the main issue. Provincial representatives told the meeting that the number of birds is depleting due to unaccounted for hunting as well as environmental situation. Provincial governments were of the view that Foreign Affairs ministry should just convey the requests from foreign dignitaries and all terms and conditions should be identified by the provincial governments. It was suggested that fixing an amount of money as fee and deputing a wildlife officer at the campsite should be made a compulsory condition for issuing of licences.

Foreign Affairs ministry was of the view that the decision making power is already with the provincial governments after the 18th amendment and role of Foreign Office is merely of recommendation. It was told that government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has already said no to its recommendations and no hunting has taken place there for last two years. The Committee was told that encouraging trophy hunting instead of regular hunting is a way to increase wildlife population.

Foreign Secretary told the meeting that Khokhrapar agreement between Pakistan and India is regularly renewed and the railway service is operational. The agreement is renewed every three years and it was signed on 31st January 2018 for the next three years. Senator Karim Ahmed Khawaja recommended increasing the frequency of train movement and making it a safe journey while also working towards using this border for trade between the two countries on the pattern of Wahga border.

The Committee was given details of budget of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its expenditures. Regarding proposed PSDP of the ministry the Foreign Secretary told the meeting that a plan of having a convention centre in Islamabad is under way which was conceived in 2015. The proposed Margallah International Convention Centre will be used to hold international conferences, meetings as well as for accommodation of visiting dignitaries. The ministry has not requested any releases for this project this year which will be planned by the Foreign Office and executed by the Capital Development Authority.

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