NA: (Population census to be held in March: NA told)

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Monday that the government is committed to hold Population Census next month depending upon availability of army personnel for security purpose.

Replying to a question, Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Rana Mohammad Afzal Khan told the House that as per decision of Council of Common Interests, provincial governments would provide field force for the conduct of the census in fair, free and transparent manner.

He said Rs 12 billion were allocated for holding of census in the country. To another question, he said the country has foreign exchange reserves worth 20.318 billion dollars.

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and Development Syed Saqlain Shah Bukhari told the House that there are 24 energy projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. He said 16 are prioritized projects which would be completed by next year while the rest will be completed in short, medium and long-term periods.

Replying to a question, he said a team of experts is preparing a report on poverty and based on its study revolutionary measures would be taken during next financial year to address the challenge of poverty.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Maryam Aurangzeb told the House that 2067 cases relating to sectarian terrorism have been registered and 1818 arrests made under National Action Plan against terrorism.

Rising on a point of order, Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah referred to killing of a PPP worker during a rally in Azad Kashmir and said violence in politics is regrettable.

The opposition staged a token walkout in protest over the incident. Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid said the unfortunate incident took place as a result of provocative language used in the PPP rally in Kotli.

He said Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir has ordered a Judicial Inquiry but he did not wait for its findings and announced black day today fearing that investigations might find a linkage of the incident with his provocative language. He said PML-N has full confidence in the judicial commission.