Accountability, austerity top PTI govt’s agenda on first day | Pakistan Today

Accountability, austerity top PTI govt’s agenda on first day

  • In maiden meeting, newly sworn-in federal cabinet decides to put names of former PM Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam on no-fly list
  • Also directs ministries for law and interior to bring back Nawaz’s sons Hassan and Hussain, ex-FM Ishaq Dar to Pakistan
  • PM Imran Khan will not go on any foreign tours for next three month ‘unless there is a pressing matter that needs to be addressed’

ISLAMABAD: The newly-inducted federal cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to place the names of imprisoned former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam on the Exit Control List (ECL) besides ordering implementation of the red warrants for the arrest and repatriation of Nawaz’s two sons and former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

Addressing a press conference after the maiden meeting of the federal cabinet presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said the cabinet had directed the law and interior ministries to put Nawaz and his daughter’s names on the no-fly list, and implement red warrants against Nawaz’s sons, Hassan and Hussain, and Ishaq Dar and bring them back to Pakistan.

“Avenfield properties belong to Pakistan,” the information minister said, adding that the Law Ministry has been directed to contact the British government in this regard.

The information minister said that a special task force will be tasked with bringing back laundered money that is stored abroad, adding that former National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor Rana Shahzad Akbar has been appointed as special assistant to the prime minister on accountability.

Both Nawaz and Maryam are currently serving a prison sentence in Adiala jail after they were convicted in a corruption reference regarding the Sharif family-owned Avenfield properties in London. Nawaz was sentenced to a total of 11 years in prison while his daughter Maryam was given eight years’ sentence by an accountability court earlier in July.

“Eliminating corruption is an important part of our [government’s] policy,” Chaudhry said, adding that the process of accountability would be started from the prime minister and the cabinet members for which they would again declare their assets before the people.

Chaudhry said that there will be no political appointments in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) government. He, however, clarified that the PTI government will not terminate the services of 526 employees of the Prime Minister’s House.

He further expressed hope that the party would also win the presidential election, which will be held on September 4. PTI has nominated Karachi leader Dr Arif Alvi as its presidential candidate.

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry addresses his inaugural press conference on Monday.

‘NO FOREIGN TOURS’:

Chaudhry said the cabinet also decided that Prime Minister Khan will not go on any foreign tours for the next three month “unless there is a pressing matter that needs to be addressed”. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will represent the country on international platforms.

Chaudhry also announced the government’s decision to restrict ministers’ foreign trips that are paid for by the national exchequer.

As part of its austerity drive, the government has also decided to restrict the expenditures of ministers. The state will not pay for ministers’ medical checkups that are held abroad, Chaudhry said.

The government will also form two committees to decide which state buildings can be used for public benefit. A committee — to be headed by Minister for National History and Literary Heritage Division Shafqat Mehmood — will be formed to determine how to utilise buildings such as governor houses and other state buildings so that they can benefit the people but do not lose their historical importance.

Another committee headed by Finance Minister Asad Umar will decide how to use “general properties”, such as the residences of commissioners, inspector generals and other government officials.

Chaudhry also commented on the government’s stance on relations with neighbouring countries, saying talks with China and India will continue [on various matters]. He also emphasised that relations with India would be based on state-level instead of any personal relations.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has written a letter to PM Imran, who has already stated that Pakistan would be ready to talk on all matters, including Kashmir issue, he said.

Information Minister Chaudhry said PTV will be given the same space as a private TV channel.

“The opposition is welcome to express their views on PTV,” he added.

On a question regarding Law Minister Farogh Naseem representing General (r) Pervez Musharraf, Chaudhry said the law minister in general is not allowed to practice during his tenure. He said Gen Musharraf was not discussed during the first cabinet meeting.

Responding to a question regarding the seats vacated by Prime Minister Imran Khan and other candidates, he said the PTI would contest the elections on the vacant seats as well. The candidates will be announced by the party after Eid.

He denied that PTI leader Jahangir Tareen was ever given official protocol. Members of the cabinet will be given one car each, he said.

Give us three months to fulfill the promises we made, he urged the people of Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s speech on Sunday was just over one hour and 10 minutes and people are already saying that it was too long, said the information minister. “He probably could not touch every topic in his speech, however, he spoke about broader guidelines for the foreign policy,” he said.

The first meeting of the new federal cabinet was held in Islamabad earlier in the day, following the swearing-in ceremony of its members.

A total of 16 ministers were inducted into the federal cabinet earlier on Monday. Five advisers to the prime minister, along with a special assistant on accountability, were also appointed.

The ministers inducted into PM Imran’s cabinet include Mohammad Farogh Naseem (Minister of Law and Justice); Pervez Khattak (Minister of Defence); Shah Mehmood Qureshi (Minister of Foreign Affairs); Asad Umar (Minister of Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs); Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed (Minister for Railways); Zubaida Jalal (Minister of Defence Production); Fawad Chaudhry (Minister of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage); Fahmida Mirza (Minister of Inter Provincial Coordination); Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunication); Shireen Mazari (Minister of Human Rights); Shafqat Mahmood (Minister of Federal Education and Heritage); Aamir Mehmood Kiyani (Minister of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination); Chaudhry Tariq Bashir Cheema (Minister of State and Frontier Region); Noor-ul-Haq Qadri (Minister of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony); Ghulam Sarwar Khan (Minister of Petroleum Division); and Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar (Minister for Water Resources).

The advisers include Mohammad Shehzad Arbab (establishment portfolio); Abdul Razak Dawood (commerce, textile, industry and production and investment); Dr Ishrat Hussain (institutional reforms and austerity); Amin Aslam (climate change); and Zaheer-ud-din Babar Awan (parliamentary affairs).



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