Let provinces have a say
The issue of international aid has generated a new debate -- distribution of resources among provinces
By Zulfiqar Shah
While the stories on displacement, disgrace and humiliation in flood relief camps, poor response by state institutions and silence on part of the corporate sector continues to find space in the media, the issue of international aid has generated a new debate around the question of distribution of resources among provinces, especially due to poor credibility of the state institutions.

tussle
Slow and unsteady
Row between PIA management and pilots enters a new stage as the latter lose the right to strike and bargain
By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed
The administration of the cash-strapped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is facing a standoff with its pilots, who have gathered under the banner of Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) to register their complaints against the airline.

Crash haunts
Families of those killed in the Margalla crash desperately wait for compensation and inquiry report
By Moeed Ur Rehman
The atmosphere inside the house at Rawal Town in Rawalpindi was gloomy. The family members and friends of late Hyder Ali, 29, who was recently engaged to his cousin in Karachi, had gathered to remember him. Hyder Ali was among those 154 passengers who died when the ill-fated air blue flight crashed into Margalla Hills on July 28, 2010.

Island of the privileged
Parliament Lodges is a place where visitors find everything, except their representatives
By Hassan Zaidi
From outside, Parliament Lodges look as one of the main islands of the privileged where everything is meticulous and in order. But once inside, chaos and confusion confronts you.
Hundreds of visitors come here from within and outside Islamabad. Before entering the building, they have to prove their identity at least three times, ignoring of course the four layers of security pickets that fall on the way to the Red Zone. All these pickets are manned by the police as callous as anywhere else.

 

 

A journey into homelessness

A firsthand account of their stories -- how they left their homes the day the flood broke

By Azhar Lashary

On a mid-August day, I am destined to visit one of the severely flood-hit areas which I have known for years but are now unfamiliar to me in the changed scenario after flood. The road and railway links connecting tehsil Kot Addu to district Dera Ghazi Khan are torn apart by the floodwater at many places between Taunsa Mor and Taunsa Barrage.

The traffic has been diverted to the banks and beds of Taunsa-Panjnad (TP) Link and Muzaffargarh canals, which off-take from Taunsa Barrage on the left bank of Indus and flow parallel to the embanked road and railway line.

It is a still, sultry, sunny day. I am sweating from top to toe as we leave Kot Addu to pay a visit to the flood-hit people encamping on the embankments in the low-lying floodplains, locally known as Katcha.The scenes of human sufferings lining Layyah-Kot Addu Road are brazenly naked and heart-rending.

The vast water sheets stretching along both sides of the road form a sight of destruction sunk in watery gloom. The houses, crops and mango orchards are half submerged in water. The road is the only dry piece of land where the homeless people have flocked to and found refuge while exposing their lives to the likely dangers of road accidents.

After crossing Taunsa Mor, the van decelerates, leaves the main road and takes a left turn on the southern bank of Muzaffargarh Canal. The clouds of dust churned out by vehicular traffic are settling on the makeshift camps along the unpaved canal bank. Finally, the van reaches a breach that does not allow it to move any further.

Here at this spot where the TP Link and Muzaffargarh canals are merged into one due to the recent breach, we are supposed to board a motor boat. The unfamiliar sight of so many boats in the canals, ferrying both the people and goods, gives a strange feeling. Awed by this strangeness, I forget my water bottle in the van.

Boating in troubled water

An exhausting thirst enfeebles me as I settle in the boat. To calm down the baby crying in her lap, the woman sitting in front of me extends her hand, leans down, fills a bottle with muddy canal water, and thrusts it into the babyís mouth.

I feel an urge to forbid her from feeding contaminated water to her baby, but the realisation of being unable to help her find some clean water holds me back. Without providing a solution, simply making an advice does not make any sense at this moment.

The baby stops crying as he begins to suck the water. However, before finishing it, the baby pushes the bottle out of his mouth and resumes crying. As if knowing by instinct, the mother extends her hand again, dips her Bochann (scarf) in the canal water and wraps the wet cloth around the baby. It pacifies the child, for a longer period this time.

After criss-crossing the Muzaffargarh and TP Link canals at different places, we finally come ashore. The mother-baby duo is joined by a bunch of men and women relatives travelling by the same boat. Their humble luggage, worn out looks and weird communication clearly show they are a displaced family.

The family disappears in the crowd of co-passengers rushing for Taunsa-bound vans on this northern bank of TP Link Canal. Who were they? Where did they come from? How have they been affected by the flood? Where were they going to? How long will they be suffering?

Just a bank away from the origin of disaster

Besides, so many other questions boggle my mind about displaced families as I walk along the embankment of this well-known link canal of the country. Women outnumber men in these makeshift camps at this time. I do not want to be intrusive in any way. I do not feel like taking photographs and notes, letting the evacuees introduce themselves and narrate their experiences as and when they like to express. I find their expression too deep, symbolic, metaphoric and poetic.

"We were once shah (king) back in our homes. Now, we are in the conditions far worse than that of a gadaa (beggar)," says an elderly woman. Her shattered belongings do not bring any testimony to the proverbial prosperity of the bygone days she is referring to. However, the nodding heads of other women huddled around the graceful lady make her sound credible.

The families dwelling here are mainly from villages in Mouza Janoo Ghair Mustaqil -- an area bottled up in embankments between the river and the link canal. They were the first to see the hell loosened in Muzaffargarh district by the gushing Indus water when a breach developed at Abbas Spur in upstream Taunsa Barrage on August 2.

The groves half submerged in water are the only trace of the once thickly populated villages there. Now one cannot find even a single partially damaged wall to testify the existence of any building there.

Notwithstanding all the upstream destruction rendered by the surging Indus and the precarious conditions at the barrage, they were given no early warning regarding the imminent flood. Or, at least, the women were not aware about the disaster.

According to them, their men-folk were in constant touch with the officials of Irrigation Department and district administration at the barrage and spur. The women were depending on them for the flood-related information. "Just a day before devastation, we were rather congratulated by our men that the danger was over," says a middle aged woman from Norang Wala village while denying any early warning given to them.

It may not be the whole truth. No early official warning does not mean that the local people did not have any information. Living in close vicinity of the river, they were the privileged one to have some first hand information in the form of some village people daily inspecting the state of the flood at Abbas Spur. They must have been well-informed about the surging level of water, but they did not take it seriously.

Too painful to stay any longer

Their stories of how they left their homes the day the flood broke still need a detailed, coherent, verbal expression. All they are able to narrate is the losses, assessment of which canít be made in economic terms only.

"Na chatey mi loonn di choondhi, na koora chhalla (I could pick neither a pinch of salt nor an artificial ring)," says a newly-wed young woman in her soft, sweet Seraiki language. She hardly completes her sentence and breaks into cries.

Her mother-in-law could not pick her basketful of chickens she had just tied and packed. Many people in her village could not even untie their cattle. Everyone ran for her/his life, wailing and searching their near and dear ones.

Finally, they reached this bank of TP Link Canal -- but not all of them. Some were caught in the floodwater. They were later rescued by boats. Some ran to other safer places like Chowk Munda, Taunsa Barrage and Shadan Lund. However, the whereabouts of few are yet to be confirmed.

Arriving here at this so to speak safer bank did not entail any peace of mind. Rather an unending stream of miseries ensued. What followed immediately was an aggressive three-day spell of rain, making the disaster even horrible.

The torrential rain thrashed the unsheltered homeless people, soaking whatever wheat grain they succeeded to bring along, forcing both their livestock and them to starve, robbing them of any rest or sleep, and keeping them on their toe for days in face of rising water from all aside.

Later, when the weather cleared, they were approached by some local philanthropists to provide some food. However, their inaccessibility is still a problem for NGOs and charities. The food is being distributed mostly on the roads and around the towns and seldom reaches here.

Starvation, dearth of fodder, unavailability of safe drinking water, unhygienic conditions, mosquitoes and diseases have been ever-complicating the lives of the people here. Heavy traffic is plying parallel to the makeshift camps on this unpaved canal bank. Deafening noise and clouds of dust are adding to the miseries. The children are crying. Mothers are fanning to soothe them, but in vain.

"We do not want to stay here any longer. We want to go back to our homes as soon as the water recedes," says a woman trying to make her six-month old daughter sleep. Going back home is a popular wish shared by many, though in different words.

A five-year-old boy implores his mother to give him something to eat. She ignores him for a while and then brings him a loaf of stale bread.

Back home

I am getting late. By the time I leave the barrage for Kot Addu town, the sun is already set and the dusk has approached. The traffic flow has slowed. Taking lift from a local biker, I arrive at the spot from where I will be catching a boat.

To my surprise, there are many boats but very few passengers, some ferrymen having dinner at the deck of their boats. As I descend the canal bank, a ferryman approaches me, showing his readiness to take me across on a special fare that is too expensive for me even to negotiate. I politely refuse his offer and stride ahead.

After sitting a little along the canal bank, I come to know that the ferrymen are waiting for vegetable consignments which are about to come from Dera Ghazi Khan and be transported to Kot Addu. The situation turns agreeable, at least for me.

A boatman agrees on a reasonable fare, allowing me to board his boat and wait till the vegetable loads arrive. The stillness of the day withers as a gentle wind starts blowing. With the rising moon becoming brighter and brighter, the wind picks up and turns the atmosphere cooler and cooler.

The arrival of vegetable truck enlivens the otherwise dull life at the shore. Within no time, the boat I am boarding along with a number of other passengers is loaded with vegetable sacks and is ready for departure.

The pleasant sailing, however, fails to ward off the flood-hit peopleís sufferings from my mind. I am thinking of their going back home and resettlement.

Let provinces have a say

The issue of international aid has generated a new debate -- distribution of resources among provinces

By Zulfiqar Shah

While the stories on displacement, disgrace and humiliation in flood relief camps, poor response by state institutions and silence on part of the corporate sector continues to find space in the media, the issue of international aid has generated a new debate around the question of distribution of resources among provinces, especially due to poor credibility of the state institutions.

The debate kicked off with PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharifís meeting with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. Though Sharif demanded formation of an independent commission to handle the national and international aid worth billions of dollars, those who read PML-Nís statement between the lines found its focus was on seeking more funds for Punjab.

The other two provinces, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, the worst affectees of the flood are also trying to present their case strongly. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which has been hit hard by rains and floods and a large number of people have lost lives, had been demanding direct funding from international donors and friendly countries. The demand usually put forward through press statements hardly had any hearing in Islamabadís powerful bureaucracy, which has been reaping the benefits of centralisation for decades. The KP government had also organised a donorsí conference to attract foreign aid.

Interestingly, the tussle is not only between provinces and centre but within provinces as well. Though badly affected, Balochistan is caught up in other issues like law and order.

The issue of who is more affected also came up during the recent PMís visit to Sindh. Reportedly, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira accused the Sindh chief secretary and a provincial advisor of presenting exaggerated figures on losses in the province.

The PMís reference of huge losses in Punjab while visiting Sindh prompted Sindh government and its advisor on planning and development to hold a press conference the next day on August 29. Using maps and statistics, he said Sindh has suffered losses worth Rs438 billion in monetary terms with irreversible human sufferings in the shape of displacement of seven million people.

"I think the issue of provincial autonomy is fundamental and has once again come up during these floods," says Karamat Ali, political analyst and Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER). "Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is asking for direct funding from donors and it has the right to do so."

In his views, if the federation and political parties in power are sincere to provincial autonomy as pledged in Charter of Democracy and 18th Amendment, these are testing times -- "There can be no autonomy without sharing decision powers, on funds distribution."

Sindh government officials share Karamatís views. One official said on condition of anonymity that presently the main issue concerning the province is independent decision-making. "Sindh must be allowed to receive direct funding and it should have the right to decide what to do with the money," he added.

Also, Sindh is considering convening a donorsí conference, but is facing strong resistance from the federal government. In fact, the federal government has asked Sindh to avoid any such step.

Many experts are suggesting Pakistan to plead for writing off of 54 billion dollars loan it owes to donor countries and multilateral institutions. But the question is which province will benefit more from such a move. There is no data on how much loan was taken in the name of which province and where it was actually spent.

International donors have kept their commitments so far. But experts believe the money committed by multilateral donors like World Bank would be a real problem. "WB has committed 90 million dollars which I am sure will be some kind of loan, not an aid. There is talk about rescheduling the repayment of loans, which usually takes place on higher interest rates," says Dr. Aly Ercelan, a well-known development economist.

He says that the ugly side of these loans is that the entire process is handled by bureaucrats in Islamabad. "The issue of loans is never debated in the parliament or in provincial assemblies even in normal times, leave alone emergencies."

Neither has the federal government announced a policy on the distribution of international aid, nor has it assessed the exact losses. Assessments so far are made on the basis of estimates.

Political analysts are suggesting that it is time the federal government allows the provincial governments to host donorsí conferences. This will increase the trust of donors that lack trust in the federal government. It will also increase the responsibilities of the provinces and provide them independence to take decisions.

 

 

tussle

Slow and unsteady

Row between PIA management and pilots enters a new stage as the latter lose the right to strike and bargain

By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

The administration of the cash-strapped Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is facing a standoff with its pilots, who have gathered under the banner of Pakistan Airlines Pilots Association (PALPA) to register their complaints against the airline.

The former has accused the latter of deliberately following a 'go slowí policy resulting in inordinate delays in PIA flights or their cancellation altogether. On the other hand, PALPA refutes the charges and blames PIAís ineffective roster planning, inefficiency of its Flight Operations Department and defective aircraft for these problems.

Though the rift had been there for almost a year, PALPA aggressively raised the issue of pilot safety in the media after the Air Blue crash last month. In its appeals, it demanded the PIA management improve its working conditions to avoid similar accidents in future.

Though PALPA claims its main objections are about the risks to pilot and flight safety and there are no monetary concerns, PIA says otherwise. It alleges pilots want increase in their emoluments, pensions, tickets and allowances and, therefore, are trying to blackmail the airline on security pretext. According to PIA estimates, cancellation of an international flight causes a minimum loss of around $100 million to the airline. The losses caused by the pilotsí non-cooperation over the last one year run into billions, claims a PIA source.

The PIA management has succeeded in getting Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act (ESMA) 1958 imposed on the airlineís cockpit crew comprising pilots and first officers. The Act imposed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on August 28 will stay in force for the next six months. Under the law, pilots will not be able to hold strikes and, in a way, lose bargaining rights besides being liable to prosecution if found guilty.

"Itís a draconian law and thatís why we have challenged it in Sindh High Court," says Captain Sohail Baluch, President PALPA. He tells TNS that PIA Managing Director (MD) Captain (retd) Ijaz Haroon is celebrating the imposition of this Act by announcing that it has put an end to the delays in flight schedules and tamed the pilots. "This is a very non-serious attitude and he must know he is playing with the lives of hundreds of passengers by putting pilots under undue stress," he adds.

Baluch says they have raised the issue of pilot fatigue -- something totally ignored by the PIA management nowadays. He says under the rules a pilot has to be informed, via a letter, about his flight 12 hours before its departure and his consent is also needed. But whatís happening is that they are contacted hardly two hours before the departure and asked to fly at any cost, he adds. He says pilots can legally and rightfully refuse to fly if they claim to be unfit or tired, but PIA terms such excuses a part of the so-called 'go-slowí policy.

Baluch says that under an agreement on pilotsí working conditions, no PIA pilot should fly more than 30 hours a week and 83 hours a month. Besides, after 100 hours of flight, medical check-up of a pilot by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) becomes due, he says, adding: "PIA is blatantly violating these rules, leading to fatigue among pilots."

Baluch tells TNS itís a pity that PIA has hired a pilot who was issued one-month termination notice by Air Blue for being over 62 years of age. Similarly, the airline is hiring pilots on long-term contracts after their superannuation and denying jobs to young pilots who are waiting anxiously for their turn, he adds.

Farooq Tariq, spokesperson for Labour Party Pakistan, tells TNS that ESMA is a legacy of the Musharraf regime and should be done away with immediately. He says it deprives the working class of its constitutional rights to assemble and protest for its genuine demands. Besides, he adds, the law empowers the government to sack workers of public corporations without giving them a proper chance to defend themselves. So there is no second opinion on this that ESMA should be revoked immediately, he adds.

PIA Public Affairs GM Syed Sultan Hasan tells TNS that it is only after imposition of ESMA that flights are being operated on time. He says the law would be imposed only on the cockpit crew and other employees of the airline will not be affected. He is not ready to believe that there are security issues related to PIAís flight operations. If there had been any, third party monitors like CAA would have intervened, he says.

The GM says there is a valid working agreement between PIA and PALPA and the court has also asked both the parties to negotiate according to its terms. About the ESMA, he says it is enforced in public interest and to minimise huge financial losses to the national airline. Cancellation of a flight to the Middle East or Europe causes a loss worth Rs80 million to Rs100 million to PIA, he shares with TNS.

On the re-hiring of retired pilots on contract, he says this is done in accordance with the agreement reached with PALPA. He adds that pilots over the age of 60 are employed all over the world and in many cases the superannuation stage is set at 65 years. Sultan adds that only those retiring pilots who show their consent and clear all medical fitness tests are hired on one-year contract. The contract can be extended till the age of 65 years after which there is no extension, he adds.

 

 

Crash haunts

Families of those killed in the Margalla crash

desperately wait for compensation and inquiry report

By Moeed Ur Rehman

The atmosphere inside the house at Rawal Town in Rawalpindi was gloomy. The family members and friends of late Hyder Ali, 29, who was recently engaged to his cousin in Karachi, had gathered to remember him. Hyder Ali was among those 154 passengers who died when the ill-fated air blue flight crashed into Margalla Hills on July 28, 2010.

"We could not even see the face of our beloved son," sobbed the mother of the late Hyder with tears rolling down her face. The family members demand that they should at least be informed what happened to the ill-fated air bus. Fahad, the elder brother of the deceased, complained that almost 42 days have passed, but they could not get any information about the cause of the crash. "Moreover, the airline could not even decide the simple compensation issue and we are being asked to wait," adds Fahad.

The snail-paced investigation and delay in announcement of the compensation amount are creating serious doubts and confusion among the victims and general public. Everyday, a new story is born about the cause of accident with no confirmation or rejection by the authorities concerned. "After decoding of Black Box and cockpit voice recorder, the preliminary report about the cause of crash should have been made public," says Qaiser Zulfiqar, reporter of an English language daily who has lost his brother in the crash.

"We are unaware about the exact amount of the compensations. The delay and cold response by the airline authorities is regrettable," laments Zulfiqar. "I, along with the legal heirs of some of other victims, am preparing to approach the apex court to get compensation." Similarly, one Ijazur Rehman who lost his 34-year-old brother-in-law, Naveed Chaudhry, has already refused to deal with the airline management. "We will settle the issue through the court," vows Rehman.

On the other hand the entire aviation industry in the world in general and majority of the legal heirs of the victims in particular are eagerly waiting for the outcome of the result of FDR (flight data recorder), commonly known as black box. Two CAA investigators had reportedly returned to Pakistan after decoding FDR from a lab in France a few days back. However, some aviation experts are of the view that the recording may not be made public due to reasons best known to the authorities.

CAA Director General Junaid Ameen tells TNS the final investigation report may take two to three months as, according to him, it was a lengthy and hectic process. "Our team, which consists of very fine and experienced officers, is probing the accident from various angles and the report would be based on truth," he vowed. About compensation to the legal heirs of the victims, he said, it was the responsibility of the Air Blue and CAA has nothing to do with the compensation amount.

"It is a complicated and sensitive issue involving different laws and it is very difficult for us right now to announce exact compensation amount or the date of disbursement," Raheel Ahmed, Air Blue General Manager Commercial, informs TNS. However, Air Blue last Saturday announced Rs0.5 million as assistance grant to the confirmed legal heirs of the crash victims. "It is a goodwill gesture from Air Blue," says Raheel Ahmed, adding it is besides the compensation amount which the airliner will announce later. "We know there are some families whose bread and butter have perished during the crash. Hence, Air Blue has decided to give them some financial assistance."

"If the passengersí relatives accept a compensation amount from the airline, they will not be able to claim more money under the second tier in case the black box reveals that the carrier was responsible for the crash," says Afnan Kundi, an aviation lawyer based in Islamabad. "One thing is very clear that Air Blue may face no financial crises even if it pays off heavy amount to the legal heirs of each victim as the aircraft is heavily insured at $35 million. The airline should immediately announce the compensation amount to end this chaos," opines Kundi.

Experts believe if the management of Air Blue does not handle the situation prudently then the company may face serious financial and legal complications. "Pakistan is a party to Montreal Convention of 1999, which says that passengers be given 113,100 SDRs (special drawing rights), amounting to Rs14.8 million, in damages," says Faisal Kamal, an aviation lawyer based in Karachi. "An Indian airliner which crashed in India a few months back had paid compensation according to the Montrťal Convention."

"Insurance companies and some of aviation jurists argue that Montreal Convention covers only international carriage, but CAA rules and Carriage by Air Act 1937 with amendments incorporated in 1960 and 1967, treat a domestic and an international passenger alike so there cannot be any discrimination," maintains Kamal. The government of Pakistan has never notified the Montreal Convention. However, it has incorporated its provisions in the Carriage by Air Act.


Island of the privileged

Parliament Lodges is a place where visitors find everything, except their representatives

By Hassan Zaidi

From outside, Parliament Lodges look as one of the main islands of the privileged where everything is meticulous and in order. But once inside, chaos and confusion confronts you.

Hundreds of visitors come here from within and outside Islamabad. Before entering the building, they have to prove their identity at least three times, ignoring of course the four layers of security pickets that fall on the way to the Red Zone. All these pickets are manned by the police as callous as anywhere else.

Samar Malik, his daughter and another girl came here from Taranda Muhammad Panah, a tehsil of Bahawalpur. "I come to see my MNA. The girl accompanying me got a prominent position in MA. She needs a job to run her kitchen," said Malik. The receptionist was not issuing him an entry slip without his confirmation as a guest from 'insideí since the MNAís telephone extension was not responding.

Malik said, "I have been trying his (MNAís) cell phone but apparently he is busy. Before boarding a bus to Islamabad, I talked with him and with his consent I am here. If they donít let me see him today, I donít know where to stay with these two women. I have never spent a night in a hotel and I donít have enough money". Some like Malik were waiting for their representatives to welcome them in while a majority of visitors were easily going in.

"It is no problem going in if anyone inside the building knows you, be it even a peon. You just tell the receptionist his extension and he will confirm you as a visitor," a frequent visitor told TNS.

Inside the main gate, 362 suites are built in seven blocks (A, C, E, F, G, H and J). In four suites, administration offices are set up and the remaining 358 are reserved for 342 MNAs and 100 senators.

"The number of lodges is less than that of MPs that cause clashes for their allotment. When the building was built, 358 suites were more than needed. The number of MNAs then was just 208 and now it has been extended to 342," an administration official said.

Another said the number of MNAs reached 339 on September 2, 2010, when some new parliamentarians were administered oath. "Every MP wants to get a suite here though about 70 of them own houses in Islamabad. It is because these luxury suites are offered to them for as low a rent as Rs4000 monthly," he said, adding many including some big names default on payment of utility bills and other dues.

Some live here with families and others with 'friendsí or 'servantsí -- both male and female, he said.

The corridors are stained with paan and run around by legislatorsí gun totting 'bodyguardsí in this heavily guarded building, giving out a sense of terror. Like a student hostel, slogans and harsh political statements are written on the doors of suites. Inside, every MP has a sofa set, drawing room table, dining table, two double beds and side tables etc.

Rubina Qaimkhwani, head of National Assembly Standing Committee for Social Welfare and Special Education, told TNS, "I have been living here for seven years. There is no proper sanitation system and there is tremendous unrest because of unruly elements roaming in the lodges."

Another MP showed a suite in which 'unauthorised personsí were living. "Even wanted criminals are around all the time," he said.

When asked why police are sitting in the corridors when a good number of security officials are manning the surroundings, an on-duty police inspector said, "You donít know anything. They fight with one another. Sometimes, they write uncivilised comments on doors of their rivals. Even thefts take place here. So presence of police inside the corridors is essential."

Riaz Fatyana, member of four parliamentary bodies, complained about the lack of maintenance in the premises. When asked why people were ill-treated by their representatives here, he said, "This place is not for public dealing. They have not arranged an office table or a computer table in the suites. The MPs must visit their constituencies regularly so that masses donít have to come here. In the previous regime, I had proposed that MPs be given offices here in Islamabad and in their constituencies for public dealing. But Shaukat Aziz and Chaudhry Shujaat did not heed it."

In another suite, a minister (he has resigned since) resides despite the fact that he has a residence allotted to him in Ministersí Enclave. He said people come to him for help, but he could do nothing since his ministry had to do with army generals. "I made many sacrifices and 'gaveí too much and in return I got this ministry where I am no more than a paper tiger. How can I frequent my constituency and face people for whom I could do nothing," he said.

Muhammad Mian, head of CDAís Directorate for Parliament Lodges, said the rooms between the suites were not built illegally. "We have a shortage of space so servants of MPs are allowed to stay here. Some rooms are being renovated in MNAís Hostel to overcome this problem. In addition, a plan to build 106 more suites is also in the pipeline. Situation will change soon."

Sources said that notices have been served on the ministers to vacate lodges if they have residence in Ministersí Enclave, but no one cares. However, Mian is unaware of these notices saying he has joined the office just two months back.

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