ISLAMABAD: Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad on Monday told the house that the government is pursuing the implementation of the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project.

He said that work on the project could not be started due to international sanctions on Iran. He said Pakistan is ready to complete the gas pipeline project within thirty months after the removal of international sanctions on Iran.  

The 40th session of the National Assembly began in Islamabad on Monday afternoon with Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in the chair.

The National Assembly was informed that Pakistan Halal Authority has been established through an Act of the Parliament to promote imports, exports, and foreign and inter-provincial trade in Halal articles and processes.

Minister for Science and Technology Rana Tanvir Hussain told the House during question hour that under the act no transaction will be made without certification by an accredited Halal Certification Body. He said the Prime Minister has approved the constitution of Board of Governor of PHA and its first meeting will be convened soon.

Replying to a question, Minister for Human Rights Kamran Michael said the government has taken a number of steps for awareness of citizens of the country regarding their basic human rights.

He said the awareness campaign has been launched through Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television and National Newspapers besides special lecturers and seminars on the topic. He said the government is committed to ensure Human Rights of the citizens as envisaged under the Constitution as well as international commitments.

Answering a question, Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid informed the House that 264712 cases of murder, kidnapping and terrorism are pending in the High Courts across the country.

He said that in Lahore High Court 159577 such cases are pending, in High Court of Sindh 83937, in Peshawar High Court 1363, in High Court of Balochistan 6091 and in Islamabad High Court 13744 cases are pending so far.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Khalida Mansoor and others regarding non-increase in the pension, in proportion to price hike of retired employees by the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution, Parliamentary Secretary for Inter-Provincial Coordination Muhammad Shafqat Hayat Khan told the House that in April, 2015 the minimum pension was enhanced from 3600 to 5250 and special assistance worth 853 million rupees was provided by the Prime Minister.

He said after the 18th amendment, the matter has been transferred to the provinces and due to reservations of some provinces the matter is sub-judice.

Earlier the chair announced the Panel of the Presiding Officers for the current session.

It includes Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Mahmood Bashir Virk, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Shaikh Salahuddin, Shahida Akhtar Ali and Ghazi Gulab Jamal.

At the outset of the proceedings, the House offered Fateha for the departed souls for those martyred in the different incidents of terrorism, bomb blasts and natural disasters in the country.