The National Assembly resumed its session in Islamabad on Tuesday with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.
The House is transacting private members business.
Parliamentary Secretary Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal informed the National Assembly that housing and population census is going to begin in a few days across the country.
He was responding to calling attention notice by Muhammad Jamaluddin and others regarding non-inclusion of a column for Temporarily Displaced Persons of South Waziristan in the national census form.
Rana Afzal said provincial governments including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are on board for conducting the national census. He pointed out that after December 31, 2016, TDPs status of displaced persons has been discontinued and now they are being considered as economic migrants.
He said during census exercise they will be registered where they are presently living. He said linkage district has been mentioned in anyone's CNIC.
He said the census is being conducted according to international rules.
Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch explained that eighty percent of TDPs have been repatriated and the rest twenty will be repatriated by April 30 this year.
The chair directed the Parliamentary Secretary Rana Afzal to meet the movers of the calling attention notice and briefed them regarding census who are demanding a separate column in the census form for TDPs.
Eleven bills were introduced in the National Assembly today.
These included The Microfinance Institutions (Amendment) Bill 2017, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Children (Pledging of Labour) (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Prohibition of Smoking and Protection of Non-Smokers Health (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues (Amendment) Bill, 2017, The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Employment of Children Bill, 2017, The Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Private Money Lending Bill, 2017 and The Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2017.
The chair referred these bills to the standing committees concerned for further deliberations.
The National Assembly today adopted a resolution urging the Government to undertake expansion and upgradation of Sukkur International Airport. It was moved by Shazia Marri and Dr. Nafisa Shah.
The House also adopted a resolution calling upon the Government to take immediate steps to construct gates and protection walls around Railways tracks passing through populated areas.
Another resolution adopted by the House under the Government to take steps to control unemployment in the country.
The National Assembly held discussion on foreign policy of the Government. A motion to this effect was moved by Shahida Rehmani.
Opposition members criticized the foreign policy of the Government and alleged that Pakistan is being isolated at world level. They were of the view that if India is involved in terrorism incidents in Pakistan then Wagah border should be closed. They said India wants to sabotage CPEC. They said closure of Pak-Afghan border will not help eliminate terrorism. They said that peace in Pakistan is imperative for peace in Afghanistan.
They demanded that foreign policy should be reviewed and good neighbourly relations particularly with Afghanistan should be promoted. They also demanded for taking inputs from the House for formulating foreign policy.
They said independent foreign minister should be appointed. They were of the opinion that a Transport Ministry should be established to take full benefit of CPEC. They appreciated decisions taken in the recently held ECO Summit and stressed for their implementation.
Treasury members paid tribute to the government and security forces for holding
PSL final successfully and said it will pave way for international cricket in Pakistan. They said CPEC is a proof of Government's successful foreign policy.
Members from treasury benches said ECO Summit is not only a success for Pakistan but for the whole region and it will help boost trade. They said credit goes to the Government that China is investing forty-six billion dollars in Pakistan.
They said many countries have shown interest for joining in CPEC. They said the Government is effectively highlighting the Kashmir dispute and atrocities being perpetrated by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir at world fora.
Shahida Rehmani, Dr. Shireen Mazari, Naeema Kishwar, Sheikh Salahuddin, Shah Jee Gul Afridi, Mian Abdul Mannan, Shazia Marri, Malik Muhammad Uzair, Ayesha Gulalai and Syed Ali Raza Abidi took part in the debate.
Winding up the debate on foreign policy, the Minister of States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch says negotiations are going on with Afghanistan and hoped that matters relating to border issues will be resolved soon.
He said Afghanistan has approached us and things are being discussed. He said Pakistan is ready to remove reservations of Afghanistan. However, he said if Afghanistan wants to have relations with Pakistan as dictated by India, it is not acceptable.
He said we are also ready to provide port, health and other facilities to Afghanistan. He said we are ready to take steps to have better relations with Afghanistan but on equal basis.
He pointed out that unfortunately relations with Afghanistan have never been good except three to four years. He said Afghanistan is following pro-Indian policies.
The Minister said the Government has tried to remove reservations of Afghanistan in the past and for this purpose Afghan leadership were given briefings.
He said Pak-Afghan border was closed to stop movement of terrorists. He said Afghan intelligence and Indian intelligence agencies are supporting Ahrar terror group for carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan.
The Minister said Afghanistan boycotted SAARC Summit scheduled in Pakistan on India's direction and sent its Ambassador in ECO Summit.
He said Pakistan is still hosting three million Afghan refugees and added that their voluntary and dignified repatriation will be ensured.
Abdul Qadir Baloch said foreign policy objectives are being pursued on the basis of equality.
He said the Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz is handling foreign policy matters in a good manner. He pointed out that opposition members passed negative remarks about Pakistan's relations with Afghanistan and India which means that Pakistan has good relations with other countries particularly Islamic countries.
He said members should give their suggestions and the government would accommodate them for improving the foreign policy.
The House will now meet tomorrow morning at 10:30.