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Event Title: Senator Mrs. Rubina Khalid, Chairperson Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs presiding over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-08-31

Today, under the leadership of Senator Rubina Khalid, the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs convened at the Parliament House.

The proceedings commenced by addressing a Public Petition referred to the committee by the Chairman of the Senate. Notably, It was informed that the petitioner has been offered a daily-wage position, an offer which he has accepted.

In addressing the matter of procurement tenders released by the KPT over the past decade, as raised by Senator Saifullah Abro, KPT officials provided comprehensive details. However, due to Senator Saifullah Abro's absence, the discussion on this topic was deferred to the forthcoming committee meeting.

Committee held discussions on the matter of outstanding rental charges owed to GPA by the KPT, alongside the return of the TUG Boat to GPA. Ministry officials informed that, a meeting was held between Chairman KPT and GPA on July 13th, leading to a consensus on the resolution of this matter.

The committee engaged in a thorough discussion concerning the issuance of licenses/permits by the Ministry, its affiliated departments, and organizations, to various stakeholders including investors, shipping lines, importers/exporters, and fishermen. Senator Rubina Khalid, the committee's chairperson, voiced her observation that the current fees for licenses and permits are notably nominal. The committee collectively recommended a thorough review and adjustment of licensing/permit fees. Further discussions revolved around Sludge and Garbage contracting practices, with the committee chairperson emphasizing adherence to international waste disposal standards. The Federal Caretaker Minister for Maritime Affairs proposed implementing a quarterly review process with contractors to ensure compliance with SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). The chairperson also called for a detailed SOP checklist from the officials.

In-depth deliberation ensued on the issue of illegal fishing by foreign trawlers, particularly Chinese vessels. Senators Danesh Kumar and Muhammad Akram expressed strong concerns over this illicit practice, highlighting a significant smuggling value of 2 billion dollars' worth of fishing products out of Pakistan. Ministry officials reiterated that foreign trawler fishing had been banned as per 2021 regulations. The Caretaker Minister assured further investigation into the matter, emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach towards illegal fishing in Balochistan and Sindh. The committee members collectively agreed to delve deeper into this matter during the forthcoming committee meeting in Karachi.

Addressing the water supply to industries within the North Free Zone in Gwadar, it was confirmed that GPA is diligently working on water provisioning for these industries. Notably, a Desalination Plant is in operation at the Free Zone Phase 1, with two additional approved projects to provide water to the North Free Zone. The committee chairperson directed the timely installation of pipelines for an efficient water supply system.

In attendance were Senators Moula Bux Chandio, Nuzhat Sadiq, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Danesh Kumar, Dost Muhammad Khan, Muhammad Akram, Chairman KPT, the Caretaker Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs, Secretary Ministry of Maritime Affairs, and Chairman GPA.