Firing range plan by US embassy: Senate chief refers matter to concerned panel for probe

Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Friday referred the controversial firing range construction by the US embassy in Islamabad to concerned committee of the House to probe the matter. Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum (Retd) of opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) raised the issue saying that the US Embassy has given an advertisement for building a firing range inside the Diplomatic Enclave.

Referring to the advertisement, he said that the US embassy says that the firing range will be built with the help of Pakistani Police, which would cost some Rs 200,000.

However, in a statement issued earlier, the US embassy said, “Responding to multiple requests from the government of Pakistan and, with the approval of the Ministry of the Interior and other relevant Pakistani government agencies, it agreed to fund the complete refurbishment of an existing firing range for the Islamabad Capital Territory Police.”

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Azam Khan Swati informed the Senate that the government has not diverted any money allocated for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects to some other project.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Senator Raza Rabbani about reallocation of Rs 24 billion out of Rs 27 billion under the head of special initiatives of CPEC towards other programmes, he said the government is determined to carry forward all the projects of CPEC.

The CPEC is the biggest opportunity for the country and 75 percent of the total amount allocated for the CPEC has already been released, he said, adding total amount of Rs 167 billion has been allocated for the CPEC projects in annual Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

He said the amount of Rs 24 billion mentioned in the calling attention notice had been allocated additional to the funds for CPEC, adding, “We have allocated additional amount for the CPEC projects to meet shortfalls, if any.”

He said that a piece of news published about reallocation of amount for the CPEC projects was baseless and had no reality. He said that the government and Armed Forces are well aware of the country’s national security issues. He said that the external forces working against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor would not succeed in their nefarious designs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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