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ISLAMABAD: At a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights on Friday, members of parliament said they have had enough of sharing Parliament Lodges with rats and that they want them out of their quarters.

MNAs complained that there are too many rats in Parliament Lodges, with some as big as cats. After PPP MNA Musarrat Rafique Mahesar was bitten by a rat some four months ago, the lawmakers said they feared that they too might end up being bitten by the rodents.

“I got administered intravenous medication five times since just to make sure that I did not get an infection. This is a very serious matter and I could have become seriously ill,” Ms Mahesar said. She also criticised the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for not answering calls so that she could register a complaint.

MNAs take their grievances to NA body on human rights

JUI-F MNA Aliya Kamran, who has been complaining about the infestation of rats in Parliament Lodges for some time now, talked about cases of children being bitten by rats.

“Whatever measures are being taken to rid the lodges of rodents are insufficient. I have seen rats run off with mouse traps,” Ms Kamran said, adding that residents of the lodges are now finding the situation unbearable.

The committee chairman, PML-N MNA Babar Nawaz, told the parliamentarians that he had chased a cat that had killed a rat in hopes that he can film it and show it to the administration at the Parliament Lodges.

Other elected members also complained about the infestation, saying that rats could be found in the ceilings, kitchen cabinets, drains, sewers, scurrying about in the corridors and in the lawns.

But the lodges are not just infested with rats, said PML-N MNA from Balochistan Kiran Haider, explaining that the official residences of MNAs and senators needed to be rid of other pests as well, including termites and cockroaches. “The windows are broken as are the doors and kitchens. Everything needs to be fixed,” she said.

Director Parliament Lodges Ayaz Khan came to the CDA’s defence and assured the committee that the civic body was doing its best to rid the apartments of rats.

“Parliament Lodges has become a breeding ground for rats because there is filth, leftover food and shelter in the sewerage and drains which makes it a perfect place for them to thrive. A possible reason for the problem becoming particularly acute could be the construction of buildings near the apartments which may have disturbed their homes and the rodents seems to have found better shelter in the lodges. However, the administration is doing its best to eradicate the problem,” he said.

The chairman of the committee then asked CDA to find a permanent solution for the rat infestation. The committee will be looking into the actions taken, he added.

Unable to get his grievance heard in between the complaints about the rats, MNA Sayed Essa Nori of the Balochistan National Party walked out.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2016