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Pakistani prisoners in foreign jails to be provided legal assistance: Senate told

ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed Thursday that a holistic approach would be adopted to provide full legal and humanitarian assistance to the Pakistani prisoners languishing in foreign jails.

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari told the house during question hour that consular services of our missions abroad will be upgraded for this purpose.

She said a policy decision would also be taken to get in touch with different countries for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners.

The minister for human rights said the present government would bolster efforts to produce skilled workforce viewing the demand of jobs in the gulf and other countries.

Read More: Pakistan release 30 Indian prisoners ahead of Independence Day

Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan told the house that Gwadar port was a big national asset. He said currently limited exports and commercial imports were taking place from the port.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi told the house that safeguarding national security, promoting Pakistan’s economic interests and strengthening international partnerships have been some of the overarching themes of country’s foreign policy.

He said the foreign policy formulated by the government just like in any other democratic country. He, however, said the parliament, security agencies and some other ministries played an equally important role in providing crucial inputs. This practice, he said, was followed in other countries as well.

The Senate passed a resolution urging the government to immediately enact legislation to criminalize enforced disappearances. The resolution was moved by Mian Raza Rabbani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

The resolution also asked the government to join the international campaign to end enforced disappearances by ratifying the international convention on protection of all persons against enforced disappearances.

The resolution expressed solidarity with the families of missing persons and those who were victims of enforced disappearances. It assured the families of disappeared persons that the upper house would become their voice in ensuring justice, recovery and punishment to the perpetrators.

The chair also admitted for discussion an adjournment motion about alleged rigging in the general elections. It was moved by Muhammad Javed Abbassi.

Responding to the points of Mian Raza Rabbani regarding National Finance Commission Award, Leader of the House Shibli Faraz said that the government desired early announcement of new National Finance Commission award as it had already faced delay.

He said that the finance minister himself had stated that the new NFC was priority of the government.

On a point of order Sherry Rehman of PPP regretted that the parliament and relevant stakeholders have not been taken on board and consulted regarding the decision to form a new regulatory body replacing PEMRA and the Press Council of Pakistan.

Leader of the House Shibli Faraz said the PTI government believes in transparency and everything will be done in accordance with the law and constitution.

The house will now meet tomorrow morning at eleven.

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