CDA directed to start luxurious suites’ construction

* Parliamentary committee constitutes five-member body to monitor progress and ensure transparent execution of project

ISLAMABAD: Brushing aside massive resistance from the opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), joint parliamentary committee for Housing and Library on Tuesday directed Capital Development Authority (CDA) to start phase-wise construction of luxurious suites costing Rs.3 billion for parliamentarians.

A joint meeting of Senate and National Assembly’s (NA) Standing Committees, chaired by Senate Deputy Chairman Mir Jan Muhammad Jamali of PML-Q and NA Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, was held here at Parliament House to review the extension of parliament lodges project.

A controversy between ruling PPP and PML-N came to surface when Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani a couple of weeks ago announced the construction of luxurious suites for the parliamentarians.

During second last NA session of parliamentary year, opposition leader Ch Nisar Ali Khan strongly opposed this billions of rupees mega project saying there was no need to construct such type of lavish residences, while the country was already facing financial crunch.

Well-placed sources in Parliament House informed Daily Times that Senate members were facing accommodation problem in parliament lodges and they used their influence for the construction of additional residential suites for parliamentarians.

They said the decision to construct the suites was taken with mutual understanding of Senate Chairman Farooq.H.Naek and NA Speaker Fahmeeda Mirza, who met on Sunday to finalise the issue of Parliament Lodges extension.

The custodians of both the houses termed it their personal matter and finally decided to carry on this project despite PML-N reservation and financial crisis in the country, they added.

During joint meeting of parliamentary committees, one of the committee members from PML-N, Saira Tarar, opposed the decision. “It is not a right time to spend billion of rupees on construction of luxurious suites, despite knowing that country has been badly suffering because of declining economy and high inflation rate,” she said.

The extension of parliament lodges project includes construction of 106 additional family suites for the members of both houses along with 500 servant quarters and an underground tunnel for parliamentarians’ passage from their lodges to parliament house.

The parliamentary body immediately constituted a five-member committee comprising Amir Muqam, Shaukatullah, Asiya Nasir, Senator Farhat Abbas and Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo to monitor the progress of the project to ensure transparency and its timely completion.

MNAs Amir Muqam, Asghar Ali Jutt, Saira Afzal Tarar, Asiya Nasir and Shaukatullah and Senators Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo, Farhat Abbas, secretaries of Cabinet Division, Senate and National Assembly, senior officials of CDA and Ministry of Finance attended the meeting.