ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of parliament on Wednesday was informed that serious violations were committed while selling an Airbus A-310 aircraft to a German firm, and Senate Chairman Mian Raza Rabbani directed a Special Committee of Parliament on PIA to probe into the matter. Rabbani also directed the committee to submit the report within 30 days over the sale of PIA airbus. The directives were issued in response to a call attention notice moved by senators Saleem Mandviwala, Shahi Syed, Mir Muhammad Yousaf Badini and Muhammad Yousaf, who stated that the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules were violated in the sale of this aircraft. The members had claimed that a serious violation of the rules was committed in the sale of this aircraft and the situation was unclear as to whom and at what price the aircraft was sold. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Aftab Shaikh informed the House that, “There are serious allegations about this deal and an inquiry committee was constituted to submit its report within 30 days. This report was expected within the next seven days and would be presented to the House”. Earlier, he had told the House that it was an old aircraft that was not suitable to fly anymore. Therefore, tenders were floated to sell this aircraft, but nobody filed any bid for buying it. However, later on the issue of its sale to a German firm surfaced, and he added that after discovering that there was some potential illegality in this deal, an inquiry was ordered. The Minister stated that four 92-model airplanes were purchased in 1993 but after about 25 years of operation, these airplanes were no longer in a position to be operated. Speaking on the issue, Senator Mushahidullah Khan also informed the House that serious violations were committed in the aircraft’s deal. He believed that the matter should be given to the sub-committee of the Special Parliamentary Committee on PIA, which was headed by Senator Muzaffar Hussain Shah, with Senators Farhatullah Babar and Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum. The Chair referred the matter to the sub-committee and sought a report by the next session Tenders were floated in the newspapers within the country but no bid was received, however, a German firm requested the plane but for what purpose, it was not yet clear. Responding to the call attention notice moved by Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi regarding the non-availability of life-saving drugs like Florinef tablet, Hydrocartizan and TB medicines in the country, particularly in Islamabad, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir said that the Florinef tablet was not registered in Pakistan and no firm had applied for its registration so far. He affirmed that Hydrocartizan injections were available in the country and that there was no shortage. TB medicines were also available in ample amounts in centres of the National TB Control Programme nationwide. Dastgir stated that a new TB control medicine for children had also been introduced and its first consignment had reached the country, while the second would reach by next month. Earlier, the House was informed that the government had announced a special package for the textile sector to boost the industry in the country. Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir told the House during the question hour that import of textile machinery had been made duty free. Sales tax on five export-oriented sectors – textile, leather, sports goods, surgical goods and carpets – had been made part of a zero-rated tax regime in the current budget. The Minister said 2,747 companies, including 65 textile companies, were registered during the first half of the current fiscal year and eight companies, including two textile companies, were delisted from July to December last year. To a question, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Shaikh Aftab Ahmad responded saying that a comprehensive plan had been designed for the upgrade of airports throughout the country. According to Khurram Dastgir, Rs 3 billion had been allocated for the upgrade of the airport in Peshawar with 30 to 40 percent of the work having already been completed. He affirmed that work would also be expedited for a renovation of Quetta airport.