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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile

Event Date: 2019-08-08

Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile in its meeting has unanimously passed a resolution condemning the long-standing and the most escalation genocide in the Indian Occupied Kashmir, as a gross violation of all UN and international conventions on Human Rights. The Committee through the resolution urged the international community in general, and the global leadership in particular to take strict notice of the sustained killing, rape and arson across the Indian Occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir, with particular focus on the recent use of cluster bombs along the LOC.

The resolution also reaffirmed its unconditional support for the Kashmiri people and condemned the move by India to unilaterally alter the special status of Kashmir. It wholeheartedly supported the decision of the government of Pakistan to suspend all bilateral trade and commercial activities with India, and invest the committee’s confidence in any such decisions by Pakistan in support of the innocent victims of the held-Kashmir. The Committee stressed upon the member nations of the UN to declare India as a rogue member whose intentions indicate that it does not stand for regional stability and world peace, which goes against the very charter of the UN.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Mirza Muhammad Afridi here at the Parliament House on Thursday and was attended among others by Senators Aurangzeb Khan, Nauman Wazir Khattak and officials from the ministry. The meeting was given a briefing on order worth 1 Billion US$ received from China for import of sugar, yarn and rice. Members of the Committee were of the view that whenever those in position of policy decisions are in consultations with foreign delegations on the matters of exports and imports or trade any and all commitments they make should be based on informed opinion and they should not give statements off the cuff and should give consideration to consulting the stakeholders first. The Committee was told that there is no hiccup in export office and sgar but some problems are being faced in yarn export.

The Committee also strongly recommended conducted a thorough study as to what are Pakistan’s requirements from our Free Trade Agreements, which countries fulfil our requirements best and then sign FTAs with those countries.

The Committee was also given a briefing on the draft e-commerce policy of Pakistan which is aimed at making payment settlements for small entrepreneurs of the country. The meeting was told that freelancers working in different parts of the country and providing services to clients globally are facing issues in receiving their payments against their work because there is no registered e-commerce mechanism. This policy framework will serve the purpose and a close coordination with Pakistan Post will take it beyond just payments but will process delivery of orders as well. E-commerce while on hand will make business and transactions easy will also help in documentation of data and digitisation of economy.

The Committee while holding a briefing on trade with Afghanistan was told that Pakistan’s  bilateral trade with Afghanistan in 2013-14 was of 2119.22 million US$ but today it has reduced to 1879.68 million US$. Our exports in 2013-14 was 1760.17 million US$ and in 2018-19 it is 1322 million US$ with imports increasing to 557.68 million US$ in 2018-19 from 359.05 million US$ in 2013-14. The meeting was told that in sugar, sugar confectionaries, exports to Afghanistan have increased but in cement, rice, animal vegetable fats, citrus fruit, potatoes, rods, exports have declined. The Committee noted that documentation of data is important for this reason because it shows us the changing patterns of the world which is important in today’s competitive market to see what improvements and changes are needed in your products to hold on to a market.

Regarding wire saw cutting project in Buner by TDAP with PASDEC, the Committee was told that an amount of 5 crores was given to PASDEC for the project and the remaining 6 crore 66 lacs was made conditional with proper detail of how the previous money was utilised. However, the officials from PASDEC could not give a satisfactory response as to what has been the efficiency of the work if conducted any. The Committee sought details of PC-1,2,3,4 and all the requisite information on the said project along with audit of the funds by the next meeting.