ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Thursday questioned spending of Rs700 million on the renovation of Parliament House for the upcoming summit of the foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and summoned the secretary foreign affairs and the chairman of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Khawaja Mohammad Asif, member of the PAC, drew attention of chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain towards the renovation work and said the Foreign Office had assigned the renovation work to the CDA which would cost Rs700 to the national exchequer.

He said the civic agency in the guise of renovation has removed decades-old quality furniture and wooden articles from Parliament House and replaced them with substandard furniture.

PAC summons secretary foreign affairs and chairman CDA

Mr Asif said heavy wooden tables and doors had been replaced with hardboard and chipboard made furniture and doors.

He pointed out that instead of preserving or refurbishing the quality furniture, the contractor dumped them and bought substandard furniture.

The PAC chairman directed the PAC secretariat to issue notices to the secretary foreign affairs and the CDA chairman.

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz said parliamentarians stayed in Parliament House for a limited period. He said the building was a symbol of Pakistan’s democracy.

He said democratic countries strive to preserve their parliament buildings and its belongings.

According to him, any renovation that defaces the historical landmark could not be allowed.

The members of the PAC initially suggested for the audit of the renovation work, however, the auditor general was of the view that since the work had not been completed its audit cannot be carried out.

On the other hand, CDA sources said the civic agency had proposed that the meeting of the OIC foreign ministers scheduled to be held on March 22-23 might be held at the Convention Centre. However, the foreign ministry rejected the proposal and decided that Parliament House would be the venue.

OIC is the second major international organisation after the United Nations with 57 members from Islamic countries.

It was established in 1969 as the collective voice of the Islamic world and a guarantee to protect and defend their interests. The meeting of the OIC foreign ministers is held every year.

The 47th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Islamic countries was hosted by Niger in the city of Niamey in November 2020. Islamabad hosted the 34th meeting in May 2007.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2022

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