Senate Committee on Communications Scrutinizes NHA Projects

Headed by Senator Prince Omar Ahmadzai, the Senate Standing Committee on Communications constituted a sub-committee to look into the lacunas in various ongoing and completed projects of the National Highways Authority.

The Chairman of the committee stressed the need to have a 25-year vision on the master planning of roads, and said that an international consultant should be hired to make elaborate plans on all national connectivity.

The committee met at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Ahmadzai who nominated Senator Saifullah Abro as the Convener of the sub-committee, with Senator Shammim Afridi and Senator Kamil Ali Agha as its two members.

Committee member Senator Saifullah Abro observed over costing in various projects of the National Highways Authority (NHA), particularly in the Larkana-Naudero-Lakhi road section. He also expressed his displeasure with the poor conditions of some of the roads made by the NHA.

Previously, senior officials of the NHA had briefed the committee about the Annual Maintenance Plans of the Indus Highway; and the roads from Mianwali to Uch Sharif, Petaro to Sehwan, Fort Munro to Ghazi Ghat Bridge; and the Dera Ghazi Khan bypass.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Communications highlighted that there are certain issues in the system that need to be addressed at the earliest. He said that his ministry is working for the betterment of the system and the restructuring of the NHA.

“We are computerizing the system through satellite imaginary which will be updated quarterly. The computerized system will help in indicating the areas where encroachment was taking place,” he explained.

The Inspector General of the National Highways & Motorway Police, Dr. Kaleem Imam, informed the committee about all the recruitments that had been made against the quota reserved for the religious minorities, and provided complete province-wise and district-wise details of the officers and officials of the National Highways & Motorway Police (NH&MP).

He stated that the five percent quota for the recruitment of non-Muslim officers and officials has been implemented in letter and spirit, and that 309 minorities are serving as uniformed and non-uniformed officers and officials in the NH&MP. He added that the NH&MP encourages minority youth to join its services in its upcoming recruitment process.

The committee enquired about the details of the NH&MP officers and officials from Balochistan, and Chairman Ahmadzai recommended that the youth of Balochistan youth be given priority in the upcoming recruitment process.

The Inspector General (IG) of the NH&MP informed the committee that the NH&MP will announce 1600 vacancies soon, in which Balochistan and the former FATA will be given quotas of seven percent and three percent respectively. He said that a special package for the youth of Balochistan has also been announced.

Upon being asked, IG Imam said that all the details of the upcoming induction process will be shared with the committee in the next meeting.

The committee was also briefed about the 1545 officials and officers working on a deputation basis in the NH&MP.

Senator Afridi complemented the NHA officials and express satisfaction with the progress on the D.I. Khan to Kohat, Kohat to Peshawar, and Peshawar to Islamabad road.

The committee also offered Fateha for the deceased father of the Secretary of Communications.

Committee members Senator Abida Muhammad Azeem, Senator Umer Farooq, Senator Saifullah Abro, Senator Shammim Afridi, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Kamil Ali Agha, and Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman attended the meeting. The Secretary of the Ministry of Communications, the Chairman of the NHA, and other senior officials of the NHA were also in attendance.

Faiz Paracha is a seasoned broadcast journalist with over 15 years’ experience in reporting and e...