PCSIR Moves NAB To Get Land Vacated, Senate Body Told

Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) approached the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to get its illegally occupied properties vacated, a parliamentary body was told on Friday.

The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology had met to discuss reports of cases of corruption in the PCSIR being investigated by NAB.

While the committee was told that there were no cases of corruption in the PCSIR, the science and technology ministry itself had approached the anti-graft watchdog to get some of its prime land in Lahore back in its possession.

The committee members were informed that two pieces of land worth around $40 million were illegally occupied by some mafia and were being misused. Situated at two different locations, the pieces of land cover the areas of 17 and 21 kanals. The land after possession would be used for projects in public-private partnership for science and technology initiatives.

The meeting chaired by Senator Mushtaq Ahmed also took up issues of appointments and promotions in the Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA). Mr Ahmed observed that matters relating to the PSQCA had been on the agenda of the committee for a long time but could not be resolved.

Issues relating to delay in promotions of deserving staff and some irregular appointments were also discussed. Three specific cases — two pertaining to delay in promotions and service matters and one about irregular appointment — came under discussion.

Science and Technology Secretary Nasim Nawaz told the meeting that the genuine case of promotion of the media adviser would be taken up at the departmental promotional committee.

The committee members discussed in detail a report of the subcommittee on the subject and were of the view that the staff facing investigation should be suspended till the conclusion of the inquiry. Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry agreed with the committee’s view.

The committee was told that most of such staff had already been suspended.

The committee sought the list of suspended officials in the next meeting.

The meeting was surprised to know that no facility existed in the country at present to see if children’s toys or drinking straws were being made from hospital waste.

Nasim Nawaz said the responsibility lay with the hospitals that let the waste go out of the premises and did not have incinerators for proper disposal of hazardous waste.

The committee decided to hold a joint meeting with the health committee on the matter. It also issued directives for conducting a survey by taking a sample of 100 sugar mills and sending questionnaires to inquire about their methods to whiten sugar.

The committee observed that there should be a mechanism to arrange annual conferences by Pakistani missions abroad comprising Pakistani scientists working in different countries. It sought a briefing on developmental and non-developmental budgets of the science and technology ministry and its departments in the next meeting.

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