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Event Title: Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology presiding Over a Meeting of the Committee at Parliament House

Event Date: 2023-09-06

Meeting of Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology was held here at Parliament House on Wednesday with Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen in Chair.

The Senate Committee passed the Bill titled "The Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (Amendment) Bill,2023". Senator Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur, mover of the bill, stated that the bill aimed to strengthen the Parliamentary oversight over the AGP's reports on Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority and made it obligatory on the AGP's to present the Financial audit of Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority in both Houses of the Parliament.

The Senate body also deliberated on the Bill titled "The Pakistan Halal Authority (Amendment) Bill,2023" introduced by Senator Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur. Officials stated that the amendments proposed in the bill, have already been incorporated in the Rules and Regulations of Pakistan Halal Authority  and the international standards is also being followed in certification of the products. Senator Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur requested that the rules and regulations of Pakistan Hilal Authority should be shared before the committee. The Committee deferred the deliberations on the bill till the upcoming meeting.

A public petition submitted by candidate Mr. Waleed bin Mushtaq addressing discrepancies in the recruitment process conducted by PSQCA was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Waleed informed the committee that the hurried manner in which the recruitment process was executed indicates questionable intentions on the part of the department. He further argued that candidates were not provided with the date and time of the written test, and some who qualified for interviews received interview letters after the interviews had already taken place the day before. Additionally, Mr. Waleed alleged that the PSQCA administration treated him disrespectfully when he sought clarification regarding the entire recruitment process. The committee chairman expressed deep concern over this situation, acknowledging that he had received numerous complaints of a similar nature. The secretary of the ministry assured the committee that the entire recruitment process had been annulled, and a thorough inquiry was underway. The report of this investigation will be shared with the committee within one month.

Furthermore, the committee was briefed on the current status of recommendation, made by standing committee in the previous meeting. PSQCA informed that a contempt application has been filed against the cement industry, as they were not complying with the Supreme Court's order to pay the marking fee for using the PSQCA logo and ministry is working tirelessly for timely disposal of the cases. Additionally, regarding the matter of COMSAT University Islamabad (CUI) in Quetta, officials apprised that agreement between PCSIR and CUI was signed on April 20,2023 for establishing CUI Quetta camp office in PCSIR premises and the necessary approval of HEC will be initiated once the premises handed over to CUI.

While discussing the  pay scale matter of COMSATS employees, Officials informed that Pay scale.of COMSAT employees have been revised as per the committee recommendation.

Moreover, the Committee was briefed on the alleged embezzlement of Rs.1148 Million as reported in social media. Officials refuted the allegations and stated that PSQCA in accordance with rules deposits its  revenue and savings with the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) while social media misreported Auditor General recommendation that these funds should be submitted in Federal Consolidated Fund instead of NBP.

In addition to that, the matter of regularization of contract employees was also discussed. Chairman PCSIR apprised that contract employees will be regularized as soon as the Finance Division approved the required financing. The Chairman Committee directed that the general practice should be followed in regularization of the contract employees.

The meeting was attended by Senator Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, Senator Kamran Murtaza, Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi, Senator Dr. Afnan Ullah Khan, Senator Khalida Sikandar Mandhro, Senator Dr. Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur and senior officers of MoST and other concerned departments were also in attendance.