Pakistan is in contact with all Afghan groups, says Fawad

ISLAMABAD – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said Monday that Pakistan is in contact with all the Afghan groups for an inclusive government to have peace in Afghanistan.

Addressing a joint news conference along with Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar and Prime Minister’s Advisor on Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar in Islamabad Monday evening, he said the entire world is appreciating Pakistan’s efforts for peace in Afghanistan. He said the government is pursuing the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan that Pakistan will be a partner in peace, but not in the conflict.

Talking about political situation in the country and ongoing election campaign in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said position of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is very strong in AJK, which is evident with the fact that it has fielded candidates in all the constituencies. He said Pakistan People’s Party is contesting elections on just eight seats, while Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz is also not sure about its future in Azad Kashmir. Regarding Monday’s news conference of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that the former Punjab Chief Minister should give answer to the allegations of corruption against him instead of pointing fingers towards the government.

He said the PML-N President and Leader of Opposition Shehbaz Sharif instead of explaining to the corruption charges against him about laundering of Rs25 billion on forged documents narrated the rhetoric that he had built Metro Bus Service in Punjab.

He said that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in sheer frustration left Azad Kashmir election campaign in the middle and PML-N Vice President Maryam Safdar would soon follow the precedent of Bilawal.  

He said that PML-N leader’s frustration was evident since Maryam Safdar had no narrative as indicated by her senseless and frivolous speeches. Moreover, the PML-N also failed to field candidates in all the constituencies, he added.

All such factors, he said, would eventually force Maryam to leave the field, thus giving an upper hand for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), which was frightening them at the moment. Out of frustration the PML-N was already making a hue and cry over what they called ‘rigging’ in the AJK Legislative Assembly polls, he added.

Fawad said the PML-N leader did not know the exact number of wars, Pakistan and India fought on the Kashmir issue. He said the PTI’s election campaign was robust and it would beat both the parties, which even could not manage to field required number of candidates in the AJK electoral arena.

Commenting on Shehbaz Sharif, the minister added, when he (Shehbaz) was asked that his sons had transferred billions of rupees abroad, he told the investigators that he had worked on water supply schemes.  He said when questioned about billions of rupees transferred to his accounts, Shehbaz said he had served the Punjab province. Some of the properties of former rulers were exposed through the Panama Papers scandal, and many more were yet to be unearthed, he added.

He said that premature rigging allegation in elections is incomprehensible, PTI’s position in Azad Kashmir is stable, only eight PPP candidates are contesting in Azad Kashmir elections, Maryam Safdar has no knowledge about Kashmir.

The Federal Minister for Information said that the position of PTI in Kashmir is stable, PTI is the only party which has been able to field its candidate for every seat in Kashmir elections, apart from any other political party in all the seats there.

Replying to a question, Fawad said that the National Accountability Bureau had recovered Rs 427 billion during the past three years. He appealed to the Chief Justice of Pakistan for an open trial of high profile cases as it would help restore the people’s confidence in justice system.

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar has said that circular debt is increasing by Rs 400 billion annually due to expensive power contracts signed during the PML-N regime. He said power transmission has increased significantly as compared to last year. He said through untiring efforts during last one week, 24,500MW electricity transmission system was enabled.

The minister said cause of power load shedding is not production but the weakness of the transmission system on which no work was done during the PML-N era, but we are improving it.

He said that the Leader of the Opposition claimed that the load shedding was coming back, the load shedding was not due to production but due to the transmission system. Our average transmission capacity is 24,000 MW while when we cross transmission capacity above to 24,000MW, the power transmission system breaks down, he added.

He said the PML-N in its time had implemented expensive projects but did nothing to improve the transmission system. “In the last two years, the PTI government has improved the power transmission system significantly, he mentioned.

He said when we took over the government, there was a transmission capacity of 20,000 MW and during the last one week, we worked day and night and take this transmission capacity to 24,5000MW.

Meanwhile, Shahzad Akbar, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior and Accountability rejected Shehbaz Sharif’s allegations that the Federal Investigation Agency is harassing him. He said FIA had served a notice, along with a questionnaire, to answer the allegations of corruption of billions of rupees. He said 25 billion rupees were transacted in the name of 14 employees of two sugar mills, belonging to Shehbaz Sharif and his family, and that amount later on was transferred to the accounts of Shehbaz Sharif and his family members.

He said that former rulers utilised state institutions for their personal benefits. He said it was PML-N that designed attack at the apex court. He said that entire nation is witnessing the frustration of Shehbaz Sharif.  He said Opposition leader in National Assembly is not felling well, since the very day has been disallowed to travel London. He said that Shehbaz Sharif on bail orders trying to astray the nation through his frustrated rhetoric. He said that PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif made money laundering of 25 billion through Benami accounts.

He said that Nawaz Sharif has been convicted and Shehbaz Sharif takes it as harassment when FIA inquires about money laundering from him. He said it is inheritance of Shehbaz Sharif to threaten state institutions. He added that Shehbaz Sharif instead of escaping to London should respond to the queries of investigation agencies on corruption charges. Shahzad Akbar also stated that Rs300 billion have been recovered from forged accounts of Asif Ali Zardari.

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