–Federal cabinet decides to allow dual-nationals to contest elections
–PM Imran directs cabinet members to prevent artificial price hike
–Firdous says govt will thwart Opp’s attempts to malign Senate
ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to recover the expenses incurred by the previous rulers on their foreign trips in the past 10 years.
A decision in this regard was taken during the recent federal cabinet meeting which was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan soon after his arrival from the United States.
Briefing the media about the decisions of the federal cabinet, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that former prime ministers Yousaf Raza Gilani, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and former president Mamnoon Hussain misused the public money.
She said that on the recommendation of the cabinet, it was decided that the money spent by former rulers on travel, Hajj and Umra expenses in violation of rules from the year 2008 to 2018, would be recovered from them.
She said the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) chairman told the cabinet about the activities of the “organised criminal mafia and their unfortunate and shameless affairs in the national airlines for many years”.
She said that the opposition used the airlines as a rickshaw during the years 2008-2018. The national carrier was turned into personal carrier for the pleasure of former rulers, she noted.
She said that 21 times, flights of PIA were re-routed to Sukkur and the national exchequer was deprived of a huge amount of money. The nation paid Rs270 million for expenses of former president Mamnoon Hussain. Airplanes were used indiscriminately from 2008 to 2018 and 500 people per plane were hired by PIA instead of 200, she added.
She said that hundreds of people were given jobs in PIA on political basis and union of PIA had 33 offices in its possession.
Rs1.06 billion were spent on fifty special flights and Rs954 million losses were suffered by the national airline due to this practice, she said adding that Rs280 million were paid while a PIA plane stood at an airport in London as a former prime minister was getting medical treatment in the hospital.
She said that now due to efforts of the government, the profits of PIA had increased by 40 per cent and through an austerity drive the expenditure was cut by 20 per cent. Now PIA had started a journey towards profitability and capacity building of its human resource was being done, she added.
Talking about the ‘black day’ observed by the opposition on July 25, she said that people disassociated themselves from the protest of the opposition on July 25 because it did not have anything to do with their problems.
She informed that it was decided in the federal cabinet meeting that the government would not stop rallies and public meetings of the opposition.
Dr Firdous said that only hundreds of people came out on the call of opposition in Lahore which showed that their show was flop and people had rejected their criticism against the prime minister.
She said that groups of people gathered in different cities tried to create chaos in the guise of protest, adding the hue and cry of the opposition was baseless and unfounded.
She also said that the cabinet congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan on his successful visit to United States.
“Pakistan needs stability and a suitable environment so that the nation, which is currently drowned in debt, could get investment from abroad. We want to end poverty and unemployment from the country,” she said.
The special assistant said that the premier was making full efforts for restoring the positive identity of the nation and the country and for dispelling the negative propaganda against the country.
DUAL NATIONALS CAN CONTEST POLLS:
Firdous also said that the government has decided to allow dual-national Pakistanis to contest elections in the country.
She said that the meeting deliberated about facilitating overseas Pakistanis with voting and legislating rights. A high-powered committee comprising ministries of foreign affairs, interior, parliamentary affairs and overseas Pakistanis had been set up by the premier to suggest ways to enable overseas Pakistanis to become legislators, she added.
Fidous said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had also been asked come up with a comprehensive programme in this regard. She added that the premier had also directed ECP to resume the process of registering voters from the diaspora of overseas Pakistanis.
Talking about the premier’s visit to the US, she said that it had restored the confidence of the international community and has paved way for a prosperous Pakistan.
She said that the federal cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, also decided to bring five major regulatory bodies under the cabinet. The regulatory bodies are Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Frequency Allocation Board, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.
The special assistant said that the prime minister emphasised the need for reducing the role of regulations and regulatory authorities with the assistance of provincial governments and relevant departments so as to boost economic activities in the country and remove hurdles coming on account of regulations.
“The meeting also approved a proposal for removing the column of the profession from the national passport,” she said, adding that the premier also directed the cabinet members to ensure that prices of essential commodities are not artificially inflated or not hoarded by groups to create an artificial shortage.
“Moreover, the cabinet also granted a 120-day extension to the 8th Wage Board Award,” she added.
Talking about opposition’s decision to move a no-confidence motion against Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani, she said that the opposition has resorted to confrontational politics to malign the sanctity of the upper house of the parliament and to bring it under their control. She added that the government wants the upper house to function in accordance with the constitution and would take measures to ensure this.
Firdous, who had earlier visited the shrine of Hazrat Lal Shehbaz Qalandar in Sehwan Sharif, said that she had prayed for the prosperity of the nation and the success of PM Imran’s mission to restore Pakistan’s glory.