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Senate observes one-minute silence for Sialkot lynching victim

Priyantha Kumara was tortured and set on fire by a mob earlier this month over allegations of blasphemy

Lawmakers in the Upper House of parliament on Wednesday observed a one-minute silence as a mark of respect to Priyantha Kumara, a Sri Lankan factory manager, who was tortured and set on fire by a mob in Sialkot earlier this month over allegations of blasphemy.

The house also decided to hold a thorough debate on the gruesome killing of the Sri Lankan national tomorrow (Friday) by suspending all other agenda items.

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The request to hold a debate was made by Leader of the House Shahzad Waseem, who said that all senators want to express their sentiments over the tragedy.

Earlier, a panel of presiding officers comprising senators Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Jam Mahtab Hussain Dahar and Nazhat Sadiq was announced to conduct the proceeding of 316th session in the absence of the chairman and the deputy chairman.

Meanwhile, Shahzad Waseem informed the Senate that the incumbent government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had repaid $29 billion loan in the last three years.

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Giving details, he said was $12.2 billion was paid this year while $12.5 billion would be paid next year. “The previous government of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) paid $27 billion during its five-year tenure, he added.

He said that Pakistan was pushed into a quagmire of loans due to ill-financial management by the last government for which the public is paying the price. “Despite all hardships, the government was making all-out efforts to provide relief to the masses,” he claimed.

Earlier, speaking on a point of order, Raza Rabbani alleged that the government was not taking lawmakers into confidence on various issues.

Later, the house was adjourned to meet again on Friday at 10:30am.

As many as two papers, including the Annual Report for the financial year 2020-21 of the Board of Directors of the State Bank of Pakistan on the state of Pakistan’s Economy and 41 Instruments (14 Conventions, 4 Protocols and 23 Recommendations) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) were presented in the Upper House.

Moreover, five reports of standing committees on information and broadcasting, national health services, regulation and coordination, railways, water resources and finance, revenue and economic affairs were also presented.

Separately, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Wednesday informed the Upper House that a Pak-Uzbekistan Business forum was held in July this year at Tashkent for bilateral trade promotion.

During a question-hour session, he said more than 2,000 business meetings had taken place during the forum that helped in signing agreements and deals worth $50 million.

This is in addition to 14 Memoranda of understanding signed during the business forum, he added.

Abdul Razak said Pakistan and Uzbekistan also signed an agreement on transit trade on July 15.

About the salient features of deal, he said that transit trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan would take place along pre-determined routes.

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