ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Wednesday that the present government has repaid foreign debt of over 10.73 billion dollars during the last two and a half years, says in media reports.

Responding to questions on behalf of Finance Minister, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid said this included over 4.4 billion dollar to International Monetary Fund. He said total foreign and domestic debt stock as of January this year was 18694.2 billion rupees.

This includes foreign debt of 5573.6 billion rupees and domestic debt of 13120.6 billion rupees. The Minister said the government is running fiscal deficit and
therefore, instead of repaying domestic debt, it has refinance domestic debt from the domestic market.

To another question, he said FBR is conducting a meaningful and robust survey by qualified experts to ascertain the quantum of smuggling at Pak-Afghan Border and its impact on national economy.

He said this will form basis to chalk out effective strategy to control smuggling. Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada told the
House that about 5500 utility stores outlets are in operation in different parts of the country.

He, however, said there is no proposal at the moment for opening of new stores.  Minister for Planning, Ahsan Iqbal told the House that Western route of
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has never been ignored.         

He said the government is fulfilling its commitment to complete the Western route on priority basis.       He said award of contract for work on first section of Western route is expected to be completed this month and it will be ready for ground breaking next month.         

Ahsan Iqbal said designing work of the second section is underway. The Minister explained there are three types of financing for CPEC projects.

These include financed by China, Pakistan Government and others being financed by donors. An adjournment motion moved by Ilyas Ahmad Bilour, Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi, Muhammad Ali Saif and Sitara Ayaz was held by the Chairman and discussion on it will take place tomorrow.

A call attention notice moved by Mohsin Aziz has been clubbed with the motion. Chairman Standing Committee on Defence Mushahid Hussain Syed presented before the House, the report of the committee on mid-year review of budget of the Defence Ministry.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Saleem Mandviwalla, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad told the House that steps on war-footing are needed to resolve problems facing Pakistan Steel Mills. He acknowledged that employees of the mills have not been paid salaries for the last five years.