ISLAMABAD: The government said on Tuesday that the prices of essential commodities have gradually started decreasing after achieving stability as per new index of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary, during a press conference, after a cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The minister said “this is encouraging that the prices have started declining gradually.” He further stated that $1.121 billion debt relief provided by the G-20 has been rescheduled, while $1.05 billion is expected to be rescheduled in the ongoing month.
He said that this reflects that the country would get a total of $3.7 billion.
Chaudhary added that work has been started on the plan to begin talks with estranged Baloch nationalists, who were not directly associated with India and soon Balochistan would become a hub of peace.
“Balochistan province is even more important for the government to fully benefit from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor [CPEC] and the prime minister’s visit to Balochistan bore testimony that how important is peace in the province for the government,” he said.
He added that the cabinet meeting was also given a briefing on electronic voting machines (EVMs) and was told that Ministry for Science and Technology would also start preparing EVMs from July 15, 2021.
“We are hopeful that the EVM system would be ready by July 15, 2021,” he added.
The minister said the federal cabinet was also presented a report with regard to its decisions and was informed that so far, in 141 cabinet meetings, 3,776 decisions were taken and out of the total 3,444 decisions were implemented, while 66 decisions was under implementation.
The federal minister for industries and production would take the people into confidence over the auto policy with regard to a substantial reduction in their prices, he said, adding that the cabinet was also given a briefing on the corona situation, by the Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, especially in the context of Indian variant.
The information minister said the federal cabinet gave, in principle, its approval to the federal government properties law, which was prepared for better management of the properties of the federal government across the country.
The minister said that a big Indian network involved in the Lahore terrorist attack was exposed by the law enforcement agencies and more details about the network would be shared soon.
“It was the second biggest network after Kulbhushan’s,” he said.
He said the government has broken the Indian network in Balochistan and now most of the people involved in Lahore attacks have been apprehended. He said the meeting of the federal cabinet also constituted a committee to ensure a transparent system of testing service of government recruitments, so that no one could raise any objection.
The cabinet meeting also directed the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to give a detailed briefing to the cabinet to protect the green areas, and on encroachments.
The prime minister on the issue related to protocol being enjoyed by ministers and other people directed a review of the system. The minister said that the prime minister would be taking action on excessive protocol.
The minister said the federal cabinet also approved the Civil Aviation Ordinance, 2021, and Pakistan Airports Ordinance, 2021, to separate the regulatory body and services body for efficiency in working.
The prime minister on 3G/4G services directed that the services should be provided in all those areas where these are not available.
On the issue of the Afghan refugees, the minister said that 90 percent fencing of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border spread over 2,700 kilometres was completed and as the government is expecting the influx of Afghan refugees consequent to the highly volatile situation in Afghanistan, the camps to accommodate Afghan refugees would be set up near the border.
“Still the management of the camps would be difficult for the government because their relatives also live inside Pakistan as well, so the government is making arrangements in this regard,” he said.
APP adds: The minister said that the security institutions also broke down the Indian terrorist network in Balochistan and added many involved in the subversive activities had been identified. He expressed the hope that the law and order situation in Balochistan would further improve in the near future.
He said that work had been initiated on the plan to hold talks with disgruntled nationalist leaders of Baluchistan and added there would be no parleys with those who had contacts with India and were involved in subversive activities.
Fawad said Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan briefed about the main features of right to vote for overseas Pakistanis and formal use of EVMs in next elections.
He said that the Cabinet decided that Skardu and Gilgit airports would be expanded and upgraded to make them all-weather facility for tourists.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would virtually address an event, related to centenary celebrations of the creation of the Communist Party of China.
He said a four-member ministerial committee was constituted to ensure appropriate testing mechanism for new recruitments on vacant posts in public sector departments. He said the Prime Minister took notice of the reports about use of unnecessary protocol and security by government functionaries and directed that ministers and governors should be careful in using protocol and security.
The Prime Minister indicated that he himself did not move out in the evenings as this might cause inconvenience for general public, so the government functionaries should also be careful about it, he added.
The PM also said that only federal ministers and other designated officials were entitled to use the national flag on the official vehicles and next week a detailed policy would be announced in this regard, he said.
In a major development, Fawad said that the Cabinet accorded approval to the proposal to convert the Civil Aviation Authority to regulatory body whereas a new institution was being set up to handle services at the airports.
He said that the Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony had proposed that Imams of mosques in the Federal Capital be given monthly stipends.
He said during the past 10 years, for the first time the current account was surplus now, and when the PTI came to power it was in deficit of $ 20 billion. He said that textile sector was working to its full capacity which indicated its revival.
He said that forex reserves of the State Bank had reached $ 5.7 billion whereas $ 700 million was with Digital Pakistan. He said that Rs 300 billion was being invested in the construction of new factories and tax collection had touched Rs 4.60 trillion mark which would further increase by next year.
He said that there would be a “good news” regarding price reduction of small cars for the buyers.
Responding to the questions of media persons, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the agenda for holding negotiations with Baloch disgruntled elements was being devised in consultation with the relevant institutions.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had again invited the opposition leadership to cooperate with the government in introducing election reforms to bring about transparency in the election process and to end the rigging charges once for all. Unfortunately opposition was so far not ready to join the government in its endeavors to ensure non-controversial elections, he added.
Regarding Opposition’s apprehensions about upcoming Azad Jammu and Kashmir elections, he said it was building a narrative of rigging in AJK elections without any cogent reason.
Responding to another query, he said “Khursheed Ahmed Shah Committee” had doled out hundreds of jobs to party workers without devising any mechanism, which destroyed the government institutions.
He said Khursheed Shah committee appointed people on daily wages, regularized their services and afterwards awarded them pension, and added that ultimately, the people will have to pay their salaries. The PPP has replicated the same “devastating policy” in Sindh.
He said: “It is very easy for me to appoint a vast majority of youth of my constituency for becoming a formidable electable but this would destroy the government institutions.”
Responding to yet another question, he said a dossier on India’s terror campaign in Pakistan would be shared with the international institutions after completion.
Talking about reliance on electables by various political parties, he said a political party should stick to its ideology and strengthen it on principles to minimize the importance of individuals.
On what ideology Nawaz Sharif had joined hands with Asif Ali Zardari and same the case was with Bilawal Bhutto who joined Maulana Fazlur Rehman sans any similarities, he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021