ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence was told on Tuesday that Sindh and Balochistan provinces owe millions of rupees to the Cantonment Boards.

Meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence was held at the Parliament House here under the Chairmanship of MNA Amjad Ali Khan. The Committee was informed that Balochistan government owes Rs 491 million to Quetta Cantonment.

Similarly, the government owes Rs 28 million to Zhob Cantonment and Rs 6.5 million to Lora Lai Cantonment.

The provincial government also owes Rs 22 million to other Cantonments in the province while the Sindh government owes Rs 3.95 billion to the Cantonment Boards. The Committee was told that the provinces are bound to give share from the NFC Award to the Cantonments but the decision is not being implemented in true letter and spirit.

Secretary Ministry of Defence and DG Military Lands and Cantonments Department briefed the Committee on all the Cantonments based in Balochistan. The officials said that there is no demarcation of Gwadar Cantonment neither the Cantonment has been notified.  The Cantonment officials told the Committee that a piece of land to be jointly shared by all the three forces would be allocated in Gwadar.

According to the officials, there are 6 regions, 44 Cantonments and 11 military estate sections in Balochistan province. The Committee was told that Quetta Cantonment was established in 1900 over an area of 676 acres.

Ormara is the biggest Cantonment in the world with Pak Navy bases spread over an area of 30400 acres of land. The officials said that funds to the Cantonment areas are allocated on the basis on population.

The Committee unanimously decided that Chief Secretaries of the provinces of Balochistan and Sindh alongwith Secretaries of Finance Department of both the provinces should attend the next meeting of the Committee and brief about the shares being given to the Cantonments based in Balochistan, from the National Finance Commission Awards and the hindrances in this regard.

The Committee also sought details of non-payment of GST share by the provincial governments.  The Committee also directed that the Secretary Ministry of Finance should also attend the next meeting of the Committee on the said matter and non-allocation of Grant in Aid to the Cantonment Boards.

The Committee appreciated the Ministry of Defence on establishing the Cantonment Board CARE Centres in different cities of the country for resolving the issues of the residents in the Cantonment areas. The Committee also decided to hold its next meeting for briefing on all Cantonments based in Sindh. The members of the Committee also offered Fateha for the departed souls of those martyred at Pak-Afghan border while fixing the fence, in Gwadar, on the coastal highways in Ormara and in Quetta.

The meeting was attended by Tahir Sadiq, Syed Faiz-ul-Hassan, Kanwal Shauzab, Aurangzeb Khan Khichi, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Syed Amin-ul-Haque, Ghous Bux Khan Mahar, Robina Irfan, Ch. Muhammad Barjees Tahir, Riaz ul Haq, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Aftab Shahban Mirani and Mir Amer Ali Khan Magsi, MNAs.