ISLAMABAD - Minister for Climate Change and Human Rights Zahid Hamid Friday informed the National Assembly that the government is taking steps to provide speedy justice to people in line with manifesto of PML-N.

During the question hour, he apprised the House that on the directive of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, reforms are being made for provision of inexpensive and speedy justice .

He said a legal reform committee has also been set up for expediting the pending legislations and introducing new bills.

He said the government is taking steps on the proposals regarding time-limit of criminal cases, up to six months, for civil cases up to one year and setting up of evening courts or increase court timings.

He said the ministry has proposed to raise number of judges, expand status and powers of Ombudsman and establish special courts in provinces of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Hamid said on recommendations of authorities, they are considering to review the Panchayat system whereas proposal for introducing effective measures in banking cases is also under process. "All the courts are being updated to streamline the justice system," he added.

The online system for checking the proceedings of courts cases, would also be introduced whereas the steps for implementation of Urdu as official language, would also be taken.

He informed the House that the government has formulated a draft bill to curb domestic violence against women and a commission is also being set up for child protection, disables and minorities.

Replying to a question of lawmaker Sajid Nawaz, Minister for Communication said every driver using Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway is paying Rs30 in addition to actual toll tax.

“Yes it is true that the actual toll amount on M-1 from Islamabad to Peshawar is Rs200 but the Frontier Works Organisation is collecting Rs230 at Islamabad Toll Plaza as per increased rates on M-2, including Islamabad link road,” he elaborated.

Justifying the additional charges from every motorist, the minister said that the collected amount will be used for the rehabilitation of roads. “The amount is being collected due to Concession Agreement made with FWO for the rehabilitation of M-2 and 9-km-long Islamabad Link road,” he said.

Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said work on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline will start soon.

Answering questions of parliamentarians, Abbasi said Pakistan is continuously in touch with the government of Iran and the National Iranian Gas Export Company regarding developments on the project.

He said in early 2105, his office requested the Iranian side to revise the timelines for the completion of the project and make necessary amendment in the Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement.  He said Pakistanis are waiting the requested amendments.

The minister said he was hopeful that in the wake of removal of international sanctions on Iran, Theran will agree to Pakistan’s proposal to finalise a workable implementation schedule. “The work is expected to start soon,” headed.

Answering a question about penalties for not starting the project on time, the minister explained that under Gas Sales, and Purchase Agreement both sides agreed on “Take of Pay”, meaning, If Pakistan does not take the contractual volumes, it will have to pay the amount corresponding to the volume and if the Iranian side does not ship the volumes, it will have to pay the amount corresponding to the cost of the alternative fuels.

He said the delay in project was due to international sanctions on Iran but now when international sanctions on Iran are being lifted, the non-fulfillment of contractual obligations will be dealt with by both sides through alternate dispute resolution.

Answering a question of lawmaker Khalida Mansoor, Abbasi said till January 15, 1,273,212 applications for the provision of new domestic gas connections were pending. The total number of applications for provision of new commercial gas connections which were pending till February 15, 2015 in the country are 11,363, he added.

He said the total numbers of pending applications for the provision of new industrial gas connections till February 15, 2015 are 1018.

To a question, he said since January 2012 to February 15, 2016, a total of Rs188 Billion have been collected as Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC).

He said the GIDC shall be utilised by the federal government for or in connection with infrastructure development of Iran Pakistan Pipeline Project, Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) Pipeline projects, LNG or other ancillary projects. The GIDC will be utilised on promulgation and issuance of GIDC utilisation Rules and its budgetary allocation as per instruction of the federal government.

Abbasi clarified that presently, no proposal of import of LNG from any other country except Qatar was under consideration.

ATIF KHAN/APP