NA: (18 aircraft were added to PIA fleet in last four years: NA told)

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Wednesday that 18 aircraft were added to the fleet of PIA over the last four years and the government plans to induct more planes on dry and wet lease.

Parliamentary Secretary for Cabinet Secretariat Javed Ikhlas told the house during question hour that the national flag carrier has also been rationalizing its route network under which loss making routes are being closed while additional flights are being introduced on viable routes.

He said the flights to USA have been closed by the PIA since November last year due to heavy losses on this route.

Parliamentary Secretary Nadeem Abbas told the house that the government is paying attention to the renovation of railway stations to providing better facilities to the passengers.

Minister of State for Capital Administration and Development Division Tariq Fazal Chaudhry said a PM grievance cell has been established to provide free of cost liver transplant to the patients at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said visa policy has been made transparent to promote tourism in the country. Responding to a point of order raised by PTI member Shireen Mazari who expressed concerns over issuance of visa on arrival to visitors from different countries including the US, Ahsan Iqbal clarified that the visas will be issued through the registered tour operators which have been given guidelines in this regard.

He said there are security checks which will not allow entry to undesirable elements, the black water or the security contractors. He pointed out that Pakistan has recently been declared an emerging tourist destination and the visa policy is aimed at promoting tourism.

Regarding a question about non-governmental organizations, the Minister said we welcome the organizations which are working in the development sector. However the ones which have hidden agenda will not be allowed to operate.

Responding to a calling attention notice, the interior minister said a project costing sixty six billion rupees has been prepared to bring water from Indus River to Islamabad to meet the growing water requirements of the capital.

He said work on this project will start this year. He said China has been requested to provide finances for the project under the CPEC. Ahsan Iqbal said that another project costing four hundred million rupees has been prepared for rehabilitation or replacement of water pipes in the capital.