Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Tuesday told the media that the cabinet had agreed for the time being to delay the increase in gas and K-Electric tariffs and to agree on the issues at its next meeting. In giving specifics of the meeting agenda items, the minister said the cabinet provided guidelines to provincial governments for the creation of provincial finance commissions to ensure an equal distribution of development funds through various sections of the provinces and put the least developed areas in line with those created.
He said Planning and Development Minister Asad Omar will oversee matters related to the Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provincial finance board. He said the provincial chief ministers and powerful politicians will usually use construction funds in their own districts, causing a feeling of disadvantage in certain regions. He said every district will be having its share of development funds via a mechanism under the provincial finance commission.
The minister said the meeting released instructions for Pakistan ‘s high commissions abroad to take measures to free 11,376 Pakistani inmates, languishing in the background of coronavirus in different countries. The PM said the inmates would provide legal help, and if they could be denied some relief owing to coronavirus, the high commissions would request their early repatriation.
Shibli said the PM demonstrated commitment on the part of the government to maintain accountability in the Senate elections. He said concerns about their accountability and justice had been posed in Senate elections, especially in relation to two provinces.
He observed that nominating heads of different government agencies was a major challenge as abuses in such appointments were perpetrated in the past and no proper mechanism was placed in place. He said the PM needed a mechanism to be in effect in the future to appoint eligible individuals for such main positions.
Dr. Ishrat Hussain’s committee was directed to draw up a detailed quick-track proposal to implement a structured framework for these appointments, he added. The meeting was informed that the PTI-led cabinet has thus far conducted 93 meetings in which a total of 1,759 decisions have been made, in which 1,579 have been adopted. He said 46 were in the implementation phase while 28 faced pause.
He said the government had little capital on the question of health, and there was a plan for joint projects with the private sector that could construct hospitals on state property to boost the health infrastructure. A plan to set up the Hajj Fund was also debated by the cabinet and action should be taken to ensure that no organization uses pension funds on any other reason. He said Malaysian model should be adopted for the Hajj Fund after it had overcome legal obstacles in its creation.
The forum was also briefed on the proposal to provide the citizens in Gilgit-Baltistan with solar stoves to avoid deforestation in the area. The information minister said the opposition members were afraid of responsibility for their crimes, so they were actively attempting to spread chaos even if they did not have a policy or alternative strategy (for the nation).
He lamented that the opposition contrasted their oppressive and inept governments with the current honest and professional government and said citizens were really aware because they understood all of this.
“The opposition is also conscious of such a scenario, in which they have no goal, little to negotiate and no contingency strategy. They have been actively seeking to create doubt over the last two weeks. They turn to these offers if they are afraid of transparency, because they think about their sins. What PPP has achieved in Sindh is ahead of us. We try to stop the transparency burden, we ‘re up against it, “he said.
In response to questions about the federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the minister said it represented the people’s trust that the country earned $23 billion in remittances, while foreign direct investment was $2.3 billion amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the structure the opposition had installed and citizens buried the ethos created, with little accountability and merit; Pakistan wasn’t the nation of the past. “They indulged in graft, played with the currency, developed property abroad and loved their lives there once the nation came up against tough times. They also leave their group in lurch behind and the staff. They already lived overseas with an NRO for 10 years, “he added.
Finding PML-N senior leader Ahsan Iqbal his party leadership courtier who wasted the time of the government, the minister said there had been several allegations of his corruption and one may question him what kind of leadership he was attempting to represent; would he not be ashamed of himself.
Speaking at PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Shibli said the same PPP that gave the slogan ‘Roti, kapra aur Makan’ [bread, clothes and shelter] plundered the country and constructed palaces like Surrey Palace abroad, while the PTI government initiated so many huge initiatives for the needy, the unemployed and the labourers and other vulnerable sections of society, one of which was Ehsaas Cash Programme.
“The condition of Pakistan’s passport had increased by 4-5 points and this also indicates the openness, steadfastness and dedication of the government to its cause, and with it we can transform Pakistan while COVID-19 and locust challenges are transient,” he reiterated.
The past of PPP, he pointed out, was from Bhutto to Zardari, and now from Zardari to Bilawal, who had left Sindh ‘s people powerless in rough times. In the opposite, he added, Prime Minister Imran Khan did not have any personal business, nor did he train anyone from his family to succeed him.
About a query about the allies of the PTI government, Shibli said it was all right and the government was very good and had provided them fresh zeal and inspiration by the given circumstance. “Our friends may have doubts, but that doesn’t imply that they’re abandoning us,” he added.
He admitted, though, that they had a slim margin, which is why they had a small field to maneuver, and were reluctant to enact their whole platform because they did not have seats. When their success is outstanding, he said, otherwise they should take more seats to pursue their agenda.
He said the housing scheme was important, adding it was Bhutto’s slogan of ‘Roti kapra aur makan‘ that the PTI government was introducing to offer accommodation to the lower and middle sections of society.
The minister was optimistic that the sugar prices and other products would slowly fall down. To another query, he acknowledged that there were problems between the CAA and the PAF over ownership of virtually all airports, including Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar. He said he had proposed utilizing the tax service to figure out property.