New Islamabad Int’l airport to complete by Dec

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Ahmed Sheikh on Wednesday informed the Senate that over 90 percent work has already been completed on the new Islamabad International Airport and it would be completed by December 2017.

Replying to various questions during Question Hour, the minister said under the revised PC-1 the cost of the project was increased from Rs.37 billion to Rs. 81.171 billion.

To another question, the minister said the Defence Committee of Cabinet (DCC) was established by the then Prime Minister in 1976 as part of Higher Defence Organization.

DCC was assigned the mandate and responsibility of decision making on defence and national security affairs at the highest level and Chairman Joint Chief Staff Committee (CJCSC) would serve as Principal and Chief Military Advisor.

The last meeting of the Committee was held in August, 2013.

He said in order to deal with sensitive issues relating to national security and foreign policy, National Security Division was created on January 1, 2014 which performs secretarial function of National Security Committee (NSC) constituted on April 11, 2014.

NSC is a federal institutional and consultative body chaired by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. NSC is a principal forum which is mandated for considering national security and foreign policy matters with the National Security Adviser (NSA) and Cabinet Ministers. Its functions are to advise and assist the President and Prime Minister on national security and foreign policy. Its last meeting was held on 4th October, 2016, the minister said.

To a question Aftab Sheikh said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has five Regional Meteorological Centers (RMCs) located at Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Peshawar and Gilgit-Baltistan respectively for the provision of weather and climate services throughout the country. These Centers are supported by a network of 7 weather radars, he added.

In addition, he said PMD has some specialized Centres to cater diversified needs and were included Flood Forecasting Division (FFD) based at Lahore, National Drought Monitoring Centre (NDMC) based at Islamabad, National Agro-Meteorological Centre (NAMC) based at Islamabad, National Seismic Monitoring and Tsunami Early Warning Centre based at Karachi with backup station at Islamabad and Marine Meteorology-Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre based at Karachi.

The minister said most of PMD weather radars have completed their life span and their spares were not available in the market. For the replacement of old equipment and to improve the density of monitoring network, PMD has submitted a comprehensive proposal “Strengthening of Monitoring Network and Early Warning System” to the government.

The government has approved the proposal in CDWP meeting held on December 23, 2016 and the project was also in China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

To another question, the minister said there was no quota in promotion and it was being done purely on merit. He said quota of all provinces was only observed during initial appointment.