Govt to make public inquiry report into power sector irregularities
Pakistan to provide chloroquine tablets to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Italy, US
Tuesday saw an eventful federal cabinet meeting which made some important decisions including the publicizing of the inquiry report into the irregularities in the IPPs and the overhauling of the Competition Commission of Pakistan.
The federal cabinet decided to publicise the inquiry report, detailing irregularities in the Independent Power Producers (IPP).
While giving details about this important development in his media briefing, Federal Minister Asad Umer said “On the basis of this report, a Commission of Inquiry is being formed under the law that shall be asked to submit its report within 90 days following its formation.”
Asad Umer said that the commission of inquiry would be authorized to conduct forensic or further investigation if it pleased, and “the findings of the committee will be aimed at narrowing down those responsible for the irregularities in this case.”
While reiterating the government’s stance toward ensuring transparency, Asad Umer said “Those whose irregularities burdened the poor people will not be spared.” However, he added that those businessmen who had been following de jure process would stay unharmed.
The minister further said that none of the decisions, raised as dubious in the report, were taken by the incumbent government. He added that it is the first priority of the government to ensure transparency, and “this decision of publicizing this report reiterates our resolve.”
However, he said that the government does not want anyone’s media trial, rather “We want the decisions to be taken according to the law.”
Firdous Ashiq Briefing
Meanwhile in her media briefing, Special Assistant to PM on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the federal cabinet has approved the amendments to the OGRA Ordinance, and added that the restructuring and reforms in Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) are the priority of the government.
She said that besides the coronavirus, we have to combat the virus of corruption too. “We’ll make sure that no one is a sacred cow in Pakistan.”
She said that instead of going to NAB office, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has “become politically active,” and instead of explaining his position to NAB, he is criticizing the government.”
“Today, important recommendations regarding the CCP were put before the cabinet,” Firdous said, and added that “The PM has reiterated his resolve that he will not let the people become hostage to anyone.”
“The PM has resolved to make CCP a formidable institution, and those will no longer remain the part of it who have been involved in sympathetic towards any personal or institutional affiliations.”
About the policy of the official residences of the government officials, she said “The cabinet also decided a uniformed policy regarding the official residences of the government officials.”
In addition, the government also approved the restructuring of the National Commission of Minorities.
“Now, the number of minority representation will be increased in the commission,” Firdous said, and added that the minorities have a crucial role in the development of Pakistan.
While reiterating the government’s particular focus on the construction industry, she said “There are more than 40 industries which are connected with the construction industry,” and added that the improvement in this industry would automatically intensify the economic activity.
About the energy sector-related development, Firdous said “the cabinet also discussed some recommendations put forward by the energy commission,” and added that “The Energy Minister will present a restructuring and reform plan before the cabinet.”
In addition, the government will also enhance the use of technology in order to curtail electricity theft and line losses.
About the government’s plan to export the chloroquine that drew mixed feelings among the cabinet ministers, Firdous said “The government has planned to provide one million chloroquine tablets to Saudi Arabia, besides providing the same medicine, in varying quantity, to Turkey, Italy, the US, and some other countries.”
She said that transparency is the first priority of the PTI-led government.
Follow SOPs for visiting mosques during Ramazan: PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that Pakistan is an independent nation that took independent decision to open mosques after agreeing SOPs with the religious scholars.
He asked people “If you want to go to mosques to offer prayers then you have to follow the SOPs agreed between the religious scholars and the government.” Imran Khan asked people to offer prayers at home in Ramazan.
Imran Khan was addressing a news briefing on Pakistan National Television (PTV) along with some of his cabinet members. He said there is an ongoing debate all over the world on easing lockdown restrictions to save the economies.
He expressed displeasure about the reports of thrashing of public by the police for violating the lockdown and putting worshippers in jails, adding this does not happen in an independent nation.
He responded to ongoing debate to close or not to close the mosques in Pakistan when all over the Middle East mosques are closed, Prime Minister Imran Khan said "we are an independent nation".
PM said coronavirus will not differentiate between the poor and the rich.
Imran Khan clarified that PM’s Corona Relief Tiger Force is a volunteer force and would not be given any money at all.
Asad Umar advises India
Minister for Planning Asad Umar said “India gave a funny narrative that Pakistan is sending COVID-19 patients to India. The whole world has seen that India gathered tens of thousands at one place which caused the spread of the deadly coronavirus. First they blame the Indian Muslims for the virus spread.”
He asked India to let it go and said “India must take care of its own citizens and Pakistan will take care its.”
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yusuf said 500 Pakistanis are coming back to the country from Afghanistan at Torkham and 300 at Chaman.
He explained that India has put lockdown and has not been giving permission to remaining Pakistanis for travelling back to the country.
He clarified there was no ban on the foreign nationals on leaving the country. “As per promise 6,000 Pakistani nationals were brought back home this week and by the next week it will be increased to 7,000.”
Moeed said same policy in all provinces is being implemented that every passenger will be put into 48-hour quarantine. “There will no relaxation on this particular policy at all,” he added.
Package for unemployed workers
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar said that after approval from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and federal cabinet, the government is bringing Rs1 million package for people and workers who have been unemployed and laid off amid the COVID-19 from the companies and firms.
Prime Minister Focal Person on Covid-19 Dr Faisal Sultan said coronavirus infections in Pakistan are expected to reach 12,000-15,000 by the end of April, as projected by the government experts.