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Ministerial Enclave villas in grip of privilege motions


ISLAMABAD: The magnificent villas of the Ministerial Enclave in a prestigious and fortified locality of the federal capital are in the grip of privilege motions for their occupancy.

The Privileges Committee of the Senate has ordered the Ministry of Housing to allot the villa previously occupied by former interior minister Rehman Malik to Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari immediately due to security reasons.

The breach of privilege motion of Senator Dr Saeeda Iqbal of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) was carried by the Senate unanimously in its last sitting. The said residence has already been allotted to the Minister of State for Interior Engineer Muhammad Balighur Rehman. Yet in another tangle, Minister of State (MOS) Ms Anusha Rehman Ahmad Khan has submitted to the National Assembly Speaker a privilege motion against the occupation of the residence allotted to her by former National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza, who relinquished the assignment nine months ago but retained the house on the plea that she will vacate the existing residence (House 17) once she was provided an alterative accommodation.

It is a rare occasion that a minister has moved for proceeding against a fellow member of her house for breach of her privilege. The non-availability of residence for the chairman has caused the invoking of privilege proceedings in the Upper House of Parliament that also involves the security of the Senate chairman, who comes second in order of precedence in state hierarchy after the president.

The Privilege Committee Chairman, Colonel (retd) Tahir Hussain Mashahadi, told The News from Karachi on Wednesday that the committee had expressed concern over the reduction of security for the Senate chairman, who is residing in his own house in the suburbs of the federal capital at Bhara Kahu. He cited the reports of intelligence agencies pointing out a serious threat to the chairman as he was living in the vicinity where terrorists and criminals are at work.

Colonel Mashhadi said that the chairman should be provided a residence in the Minister’s Enclave, and the house vacated by former Interior Minister Rehman Malik should be allotted to Chairman Syed Nayyar Bukhari. The house is currently occupied by the Minister of State for Interior and Education Engineer Muhammad Baleeghur Rehman, who doesn’t have any residence in Islamabad as he belongs to a far-flung area of Bahawalpur. Incidentally, the tenure of Syed Nayyar Hussain Bukhari as member of the Senate and chairman will end in less than a year. The orders issued by the Privileges Committee chairman are supposed to be complied with in two months; otherwise, the ministry will have to offer an explanation for reasons of non-compliance. The matter could be then referred to the House.

The sources told this scribe that the Interior Ministry is not in a hurry to vacate the house of its MOS and would look into the legal aspects of the findings of Senate committee. Incidentally, the Senate chairman is availing house rent, the source said.

Ms Anusha Rehman Ahmad Khan, who in her own right is a renowned jurist and top lawyer, besides Minister of State for Information Technology (IT), has planned to contest for her right of having official accommodation since she has exhausted all efforts through conciliation. She is staying in the Parliamentary Lodges where she doesn’t want to stay any further.

Dr Fehmida Mirza, as speaker National Assembly, approved several unprecedented facilities for former speakers, including the official accommodation. The residence in the Minister’s Enclave is not the entitlement of the former speaker. Incidentally, none of the seven living former speakers of the National Assembly is availing official residential facilities in the federal capital, the sources said.

The privilege motion filed by Ms Anusha Rehman Ahmad Khan is under consideration of Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who will take a decision about its validity today (Thursday) before putting up in the House.

He has been trying hard for the settlement of the dispute amicably and entrusted the responsibility to certain members of the House for a patch-up between the interested parties, the sources said. via: thenews

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