ISLAMABAD - The talk of “future national government” echoed in the Senate on Tuesday when an outspoken opposition lawmaker in a lighter tone recommended the name of another fellow senator for the “next set-up.”

“I have heard that some national government would be formed in future, and I would strongly recommend him (PKMAP Senator Muhammad Usman Kakar) as minister for interprovincial coordination (in that set-up),” said PML-N Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed but on a lighter note.

Speaking in the house on the report of the House Functional Committee on the Problems of Less Developed Areas on its visits to four less developed districts of southern Punjab, Mushahid appreciated the report authored by Senator Usman Kakar as the chairperson of the committee.

For quite some past couple of weeks, rumours are rife in the federal capital about the formation of a national government in the centre on the ground that powers-that-be are not happy with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in the wake of rising inflation and unemployment in the country.

Senator Mushahid, who has remained closely associated in the past with the power corridors, took the occasion to speak about the national government and his remarks nominating Kakar for the “future set-up” were welcomed by the other members by thumping desks.

“The report is comprehensive and written in a professional manner,” Senator Syed said adding that he knew about political skills of Senator Kakar but he has administrative skill as well.

Mentioning some recommendation made in the report, the PML-N lawmaker appreciated the recommendation asking for employment specific quota for less developed areas. He said that there was a myth about Punjab as it is rich and it dominates as Kakar has told that there are less developed areas in the province also and there is an exploitation there as well.

However, Senator Syed disagreed to one of the recommendations seeking formation of a new separate province out of Punjab. “I would beg to differ.”

South Punjab based PML-N Senator Hafiz Abdul Karim in his remarks said that there was shortage of clean drinking water in southern districts of the province including D G Khan, Layyah and Rajanpur. He added that there were poor health facilities in the region and asked for improving road infrastructure there. He also demanded that new schools should be established in the region as the existing ones didn’t cater to the population of the area.

As part of the government’s efforts to fulfil requirements of the global anti-money laundering watchdog — Financial Action Task Force (FATF) —before its next final review for Pakistan, the house passed the Anti-Money Laundering (Amendment) Bill with the majority of vote.

The government bill that was moved by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar sought to amend the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010. One of the amendments made in the act seeks strict punishments for those found involved in money laundering. It seeks up to 10 year of imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 million for those found involved in money laundering.

The house also passed the Foreign Exchange Regulation (Amendment) Bill that sought to amend the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947. The bill empowers the State Bank of Pakistan to regulate the foreign exchange business.