Apparently lanes resolution unanimously perceived affront to democracy home on Friday, detractors of the democratic system, he repeated 2-1/2-year-old PPP led coalition government of national reconciliation policy, vowing to include all political forces to address the situation and ensure transparency in the use of internal resources and international assistance to rescue and rehabilitation of about 20 million of flood insurance.
Informing the house that the meeting of the CCI, which is constitutionally empowered to formulate and regulate policies on inter-provincial matters and coordination, had been called to chalk out the “future course of action in light of recommendations of the provinces”, the prime minister said he was confident about a “total consensus on the national strategy”.
Responding to opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s criticism of the government’s failure to set up an independent oversight commission comprising respected non-political national figures after the prime minister had agreed to the proposal by PML-N leader Nawaz Sahrif, Mr Gilani said he could not do it after receiving written objections from three provinces that saw it a negation of financial powers given them by the Eighteenth Amendment of the constitution, but added: “We will again put the suggestion on the table (at the CCI meeting).”
In the meantime, the government had instead announced the establishment of a governmental National Oversight Disaster Management Council, which the prime minister said was meant to “ensure a transparent and equitable distribution of relief goods” in association with provincial representatives.
Urging the opposition not to doubt his government’s intentions, the prime minister said: “We are ready to do all what is possible under the constitution. Our intention is to deliver. We have to no objection to oversight.”
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan also told the house before it was prorogued after a three-day PML-N requisitioned session that the government would take suggestions made by members about flood relief and rehabilitation of the flood sufferers seriously and place them before the CCI.
LOSS, DAMAGE FIGURES: The prime minister said a total of 79 districts had been hit by floods – 24 in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, 12 in Punjab, 19 in Sindh, 10 in Balochistan, seven in Azad Kashmir and seven in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Quoting estimates of U.N. agencies and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), which was severely criticized by some opposition members, he said the floods had destroyed standing crops on 1.4 million acres of land, damaged 1.3 million houses, displaced 7.5 million people, killed over 1,600 and injured 2,600.
He quoted unspecified experts as estimating losses to crops, cattle and infrastructure from 350 billion to 500 billion rupees, or four to six billion dollars, including serious damage to 1,000 bridges and more than 400km of roads which would cost billions of rupees to repair and 30 per cent of agricultural land affected.
The Pakistan Electric Power Company, he said, had put the damage to its installations at billions of rupees with grid stations, transformers and transmission lines destroyed in many areas.
Pressed by the opposition leader to give a total foreign aid pledges to date, Mr Gilani put the figure at $1.03 billion, of which he said 80 percent would be spent through non-governmental organizations and the remainder 20 percent by the government, and contributions to the Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund so far at Rs4 billion.
He praised collection of relief funds by governmental and non-governmental organizations but agreed with Chaudhry Nisar’s demand that defence organizations get their collection campaigns regularized through a notification by the defence ministry otherwise the process would be “illegal”.
More than 30 members from both sides of the house spoke in the debate, many of them complaining about breaches of dykes to save lands and properties of influential people mainly in Punjab and Sindh provinces, although such allegations have been denied by authorities.
The prime minister said he would ask the provincial chief ministers to hold inquiries into the complaints.
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