Senate Panel concerned over location of COMSATS Quetta Campus

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ISLAMABAD, JAN 4: /DNA/ – The Senate Standing Committee on Science and Technology on Wednesday was informed that the report of the WHO about the usage of adulterant milk by 87pc of the Pakistan’s population has not been obtained as yet. The Committee inquired on the malnutrition milk consumed by 99 pc of population of Pakistan causing serious health issues like early puberty problems in children and other health issues injurious to health. “The preservatives used in the milk makes it useable till a fort night, whereas milk is suppose to break in a couple of days” Senator Engr. Rukhsana Zuberi questioned, implying chemicals injurious to health she further added. The Director General, Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority apprised the committee that the share of formal milk supply ( packages and traceable milk amounts to 3.2pc with annual production of 22.0 bl. liters. However, 96.8 pc of the milk is used in loose/unpackaged form. It was further informed that the checking of quality of loose/unpacked milk is the mandate of provincial Food authorities. The officials informed that the reported issues with regard to loose milk include adulteration and contamination. The PSQCA has developed a standard for Pasteurization Guidelines. Senator Muhammad Humayun Mohmand regretted the fact that food standardization of I pc population is been regularized, whereas no heed is given to the food of economically disadvantaged class, leading to extensive health issues unaffordable by the under privileged class. “It is very easy to say that it is not in our mandate putting at stake lives of millions” Humayun stressed. The Ministry maintained that the enforcement of Pasteurization laws will give food standards to local food.  The committee was briefed that, Pakistan is the 4th largest milk producer in the world with 62 bl. liters annual production. The thermal treatment (Minimal pasteurization) is mandatory in different countries such as USA, Canada New Zealand Australia etc. and Pakistan should also practice this and completely outlaw the raw milk sale, by which the consumer will get safer milk.   

The Senate Science and Technology Committee met on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of Senator Sardar Muhammad Shafiq here at the Parliament House to discuss various pending matters to be deliberated with the Ministry.

Senator Syed Shibli Faraz emphasized on the halt of the approval of the HEMP Policy which is a great set back on the Foreign Exchange Policy of the country. “ HEMP will bring 1 to 2 bl. Foreign exchange earnings for the country he grieved” The committee unanimously showed displeasure to be conveyed to the Prime Ministers office for the delay of approval of HEMP policy by the cabinet. The committees also minuted the displeasure on the absence of the Minister. “An absence of the Minister either shows that he cannot face the committee on the issue or do not consider the issue important enough, to pay heed” stated Senator Kamran Murtaza. The committee unanimously condemned not only the delay in the HEMP policy approval but also the delay in the transferring the headquarters of PSQCA from Karachi to Islamabad. The committee lamented that the day to day changing of the government should be source of light for the decisions of the country rather than political bias and conflicts  Shibli Faraz said that such delay which is a contribution to the nations progress is a criminal negligence and loss to the People of Pakistan. He also inquired on the National Science and Technology Policy. The ministry updated that meetings will be held after constitution of the working groups in the 45 days.

While updating the status of the appointment of Director General, PSQCA in MP-I scale that the process has been initiated and the post was advertised on 27-11-2022 with a total no of 98 applications being received, these applications will be scrutinized in accordance with MP Scale Policy, 2020 and selected candidates will be interviewed by the Federal Minister which afterwards will be further scrutinized by Federal Cabinet.

While taking briefing on the recently inaugurated campus in PCSIR lab Quetta Office, the committee brought up the question of its allocation issue which will create chaos and crises because of various ethnic group affiliation with the area. The committee showed reservation on the location and urged that the campus may necessarily be located in the city area. Senator Rukhsana Zuberi recommended that three senators from Baluchistan should identity the building to submit names for approval. 

The Chairman Committee also inquired on the status of inquiry on the forced leave of Director, COMSTAS Abbottabad campus, and on the stipulated time of inquiry completion in rules. He also inquired reason of delay in inquiry completion and emphasized to follow a certain rule to keep inquiries pending in interest of fair justice. It was informed that an inquiry committee comprising of Vice Chancellor was constituted to investigate the allegation leveed against Director, CUI Abbottabad Campus and to probe the facts of the case. The Inquiry committee submitted its detailed report to the Rector on 25th August 2022.  It was further informed that the inquiry was completed as per the stipulated time period of one month, as per terms and conditions of the appointment a reference is submitted to the university Senate for recommendations of the inquiry committee however the quorum of the University Senate was incomplete because of which a meeting could not be initiated. The committee recommended expediting the process of completion at its earliest.

The meeting was attended by Senators Muhammad Humayun Mohmand, Senator Kamran Murtaza , Senator Engr Rukhsana Zuberi and Senator Anwar ul-Haq-Kakar. Senior Officials from the Ministry and other concerned departments were also in attendance.