Govt, Opposition almost ‘reach an understanding’ on electoral reforms

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that the federal Cabinet decided to uphold the decision to ban Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in the light of the committee’s report.

While briefing media here on Tuesday, following the meeting of the federal Cabinet, Federal Minister for Information Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the report of the committee set up to consider the request for review by Tehreek-e-Lubaik Pakistan was submitted to the federal Cabinet. He said the Cabinet was informed that after hearing the stance of the Punjab government and the organization and examining the facts, the committee came to the conclusion that the decision to ban the TLP was taken on merit and facts.

In the light of the committee’s report, the Cabinet has upheld the decision to ban TLP.

He said the Law Ministry would approach the Election Commission of Pakistan to get the election symbol of TLP cancelled as per law, he added.

 The Information Minister said that Pakistan is closely monitoring the changing situation in Afghanistan. Our position is very clear that we want peace in Afghanistan but we need the help of the international community in this regard.

He said, ‘We are in coordination with the Afghan groups and the entire world is watching Pakistan’s role for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Bilawal left for US out of frustration as his party had no chance of winning AJK elections: Fawad

He said the international community should support Pakistan on the issue of Afghan refugees. He said we are trying to avert all such circumstances that would make Afghans to migrate again.

The Minister said at the beginning of the meeting of the Federal Cabinet, Fateha was offered for the Kashmir Martyrs who were martyred on July 13, 1931.

On this very day 22 Kashmiris were martyred for standing up for truth and honesty. Today, the federal Cabinet and the nation salute these Kashmiri youths, said Information Minister.

He said that the Federal Cabinet meeting was briefed on the progress made so far with regard to electronic voting machine and I-voting.

He said that the situation is improving with regard to electoral reforms, many things have been agreed with the Opposition, those on whom we do not agree, are trying to get understanding on them.

He said the basic objective of EVM machine is to make elections transparent.

Fawad told that the Cabinet also approved to give 15pc Special Allowance 2021 of the basic salary for the Army.

He said there had been no increase in army salaries for two years.

He said, last year, the salaries of civil and military personnel were increased by 10 per cent.

Later, at the request of civil servants, their salaries were increased by 25pc, but the army’s salaries were not increased, he added.

He said that the Prime Minister has directed that Rangers and FC should also be included in it.

He said that as a result of the efforts of Prime Minister Imran Khan, 85 more Pakistani prisoners were being released by the Saudi Arabian government on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha.

A special plane is being sent to bring back these Pakistani prisoners, he added.

He said that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had announced during his visit to Pakistan that we would release Pakistani prisoners jailed in Saudi Arabia in minor cases.

He said that the process of release of prisoners was going on continuously.

He said that with the release of hundreds of prisoners from all over the world, this is great news for the working class in prisons abroad.

The work of bringing back prisoners who are not involved in serious crimes is in full swing  he added.

Talking about coronavirus vaccination in the country, Minister for Information said that Special Assistant for Health Dr. Faisal briefed the Cabinet on the situation of Covid-19 and respective vaccination process in the country.

The Cabinet was informed that 525,000 doses were administered on Monday July 13, 2021 in a single day and 20 million people have been vaccinated against coronavirus so far.

He said the NCOC will also submit a comprehensive report in this regard soon. He said that cases of Covid-19 have increased in Karachi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the situation is under control in Punjab, it is necessary to take precautionary measures.

He also added that 20 million Pakistanis have been vaccinated, the public is appealed to observe SOPs against coronavirus pandemic.

He said that the federal Cabinet has approved a three-day Eid-ul-Azha holiday from July 20 to 22.

Information minister said that the Cabinet was briefed on the security situation of key personalities including Ministers, Ministers of State and elected representatives, judges, government employees and others and the protocol they were using.

He said the Opposition leaders and former bureaucrats have more protocol than the Cabinet members.

He said it has been decided that a comprehensive report will be submitted to the Prime Minister next week.

The Prime Minister directed that a comprehensive plan for rationalization of security and protocol be presented at the next Cabinet meeting.

Fawad said that the government would launch the largest campaign in the history of the country during the recent monsoon for tree plantation.

In this regard, a full tree planting campaign will be launched in all the provinces.

The Prime Minister directed all the Ministers, MNAs and MPAs to fully participate in the tree plantation drive, he added.

He said “we will plant 500 million trees”.

He said that the Cabinet was briefed on the construction of a multi-storey building on railway land in Nowshera.

The Cabinet directed that better management of the said land should be ensured through the National Asset Management Company.

He said that the Cabinet has been briefed on the removal of encroachments in Sector E-8 and E-9 of the federal capital and rehabilitation of green areas.

The Prime Minister has expressed great concern that the size of the city of Islamabad has increased from 2010 to 2020 as much as it has increased from 1960 to 2010, he added.

The Minister said that as a result, encroachments in green areas have increased and population pressure in Islamabad has also increased.

He said the Navy and Air Force have been asked to remove their walls and fences from the green areas, and they have begun to do so.

He said that in order to make Islamabad, a city free from encroachments, the Chairman CDA has been directed to fully implement respective laws.

Information minister said that in order to protect Pakistani products, the Federal Cabinet registered some agricultural and non-agricultural products identified by the Ministry of Commerce under the Geographical Indication (Registration and Protection) Act, 2020.

He said the list also identifies entities that have registered these products under the Geographical Indications Act.

These companies will keep all the necessary details regarding these products including the features of these products, their production method, details of the areas of production and other details related to the products.

He said the purpose of these measures is to maintain and protect the identity of specific Pakistani products.

Fawad said that the agenda of granting first right of refusal to Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works was deffered in the Cabinet meeting.

He said that the Federal Cabinet approved the applications received from Poland, Australia, France, Czech Republic, Budapest and Turkey for mutual legal assistance and approved to forward these applications to the relevant law enforcement agencies.

He said that the Federal Cabinet, at the request of the Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, had approved the setting up of a Joint Investigation Team to conduct a transparent and impartial inquiry into the cases filed against him by the Sindh government.

He said that the federal cabinet has approved to fix the retail price of 49 medicines.

These are medicines that were not being manufactured in Pakistan, he said.

Under the law, the initial price has to be set by the federal government, he said.

He said that the cabinet had approved the appointment of Muhammad Amjad Khan as CEO, Islamabad Electric Supply Corporation.

The Cabinet approved the additional charge of CEO of AEDB to Shah Jahan Mirza (MDPPIB) in view of the merger of the Alternative Energy Development Board and the Private Power Infrastructure Board.

The Federal Cabinet approved the proposal of the  retiring MD to continue his responsibilities under the Companies Act 2017 till the appointment of the new MD of Nespak.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal to amend the Rules of Business regarding the responsibilities of the Ministry of Planning and Special Initiatives.

The Federal Cabinet approved the appointment of Javed Ahmed Siddiqui as the Chief Executive Officer of Pakistan Railway Freight Transportation Company.

Replying a question, he said that Pakistan is keeping a close eye on the changing situation in Afghanistan, there are already about three million Afghan refugees here in Pakistan and the world should stand with Pakistan regarding Afghan refugees issue.

“The way the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating, we are trying that such circumstances should not to be developed in Afghanistan that cause Afghan citizens to migrate again,” Fawad said.

The Federal Minister for Information said that the decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Privatization on June 23, 2021 were ratified.

The reserve price of Services Hotel in Lahore has been fixed at Rs 1.95 billion, for which a transaction advisor has been appointed. Services are being offered for hotel privatization, he said.

The decisions taken at the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation held on July 8, 2021 were also ratified. The Cabinet approved the proposed draft of the Bilateral Cooperation Agreement between Pakistan and Uzbekistan in the field of television and radio.

Replying to a question, the Federal Minister for Information said that the Prime Minister himself would go to the Kashmir elections, which would be a suitable election for the PTI.

He said that Bilawal Bhutto had left for the United States disappointed with the election campaign and his candidates were not enough.

Responding to q question, he said that at the moment the prisoners are returning home from Saudi Arabia, we have not made any such arrangement with the United States.

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