Govt not to discuss electoral reforms with Nawaz, Maryam or Fazl: Fawad
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday said the government would discuss electoral reforms with the opposition members of parliament (MPs) and not the fugitives like Nawaz Sharif and Altaf Hussain.
Many leaders of both opposition parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), were part of the parliamentary system and wanted its improvement, while Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Safdar, Fazlur Rehman and others wanted to disrupt it for their personal benefits, he said while briefing media persons about the decisions of cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister said for the continuation of democracy, the government and the opposition would have to agree on certain basic issues and electoral reforms were vital in that regard.
The Federal Cabinet, he said, was briefed about the electronic voting machines (EVMs) by PM’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, Minister for Information Technology Syed Amin ul Haque, and Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) TI had presented 49 proposals for electoral reforms and if the opposition had any objection regarding the EVMs then they should come up with their own suggestions, he added.
Fawad said the PTI had lost 10 by-elections, while the PML-N after its defeat on just one provincial assembly seat started levelling allegations of rigging and foul play. Similarly, the PML-N had its government in the Azad Jammu & Kashmir with police and administration under its control, and had also appointed the Chief Election Commissioner, but when it got a drubbing in the polls there its leadership started a hue and cry. It was not the way to run a democratic system, he added.
The minister said vaccination was in full swing in different cities of Pakistan but Karachi and Hyderabad were lagging behind in the process. The Sindh government, he said, should improve its performance to control the pandemic in the megacities.
The Federal Government could only draw the attention of provincial governments to their governance problems for the betterment of people, the minister added. Fawad said at the outset the cabinet meeting was informed that 23 more Pakistani prisoners returned from Saudi Arabia today. So far hundreds of Pakistani citizens languishing in jails abroad due to petty crimes had been repatriated due to the personal efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan. It showed how much the prime minister cared for the overseas Pakistanis, especially the poor labour class, he added.
He said in the prime minister’s eyes, the criteria for judging the performance of Pakistani missions abroad was how they treated the compatriots living there and helped them.
The officials posted at the missions should not only respect the overseas Pakistanis like their own family members but also help resolve their problems. Fawad said the Capital Development Authority (CDA) chairman briefed the cabinet on encroachments in various sectors of the Federal Capital. The prime minister directed that encroachments should be removed without any discrimination between the poor, and the powerful and wealthy.
The encroachments from the green areas would be eliminated at all costs, he added.
The minister said the cabinet approved the appointment of Muhammad Jabbar Khan as Chief Executive Officer of Peshawar Electric Supply Company.
He said the cabinet also discussed the issue of load-shedding. Minister for Energy Hammad Zahra told the cabinet that the current power supply in the country was between 24,000 and 26,000 MW and no loadshedding was being done.
As regards the current economic indicators, Fawad said the cabinet was informed that despite the corona pandemic, the economy was moving in the right direction, with inflation showing a downward trend. The current account deficit was $1.9 billion, which was $20 billion in 2018.
The exports and foreign reserves had reached the record level, which was a manifestation of the prudent policies of the government. He said the private sector was given Rs 489 billion loans by the banks during the last fiscal year as compared to Rs 75 billion in the previous year. The industrial sector, he said, was booming due to the effective policies of the government.
Duties on 61 items had been abolished to deal with the corona epidemic, he added.
The cabinet, he said, also gave approval for the grant of loans of Rs 315 billion loan to the youth under the Kamyab Jawan Programme.
Fawad said the support price of cotton had been fixed at Rs 5,000 per 40 kg, which would attract farmers to sow the crop.
He said the cabinet rejected a proposal to increase the salaries of ministers and ministers of state.