–PM and ministers endorse Faisal Vawda’s stance on keeping PML-N leader on no-fly list
–Imran orders uninterrupted gas supply to domestic consumers during winter months
ISLAMABAD: A day after the Lahore High Court referred Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Maryam Nawaz’s plea for removal of her name from the no-fly list to the federal government, the prevailing view –endorsed by Prime Minister Imran Khan — during the meeting of the federal cabinet was that the government should not allow her to go to London.
Maryam, daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had moved the LHC for the removal of her name from the Exit Control List (ECL) so she could stay with her father in London, who is undergoing treatment in a hospital.
During the weekly meeting of the cabinet, Water Resources Minister Faisal Vawda “strongly opposed the departure of Maryam Nawaz”: a view supported by many of the members as well as the PM.
The reluctance in the government ranks could be linked to a controversy surrounding the departure of Nawaz Sharif, who left the country on health grounds after giving a guarantee to the court. However, after his departure, the PM had cast doubts on the veracity of Nawaz’s sickness claims, saying there was a disparity between his demeanour and the medical reports.
PM’s aide on information Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the federal government cannot allow Maryam to fly abroad without any “concrete reasons”.
“Why does she need to visit her ailing father in London when all of her relatives including her siblings are there to take care of him,” she told a press conference following the federal cabinet meeting.
Firdous said Maryam’s application was under consideration of federal cabinet’s sub-committee; however, she hinted that the government was not willing to strike off the travel ban over “weak grounds”.
“Law minister [Farogh Naseem] apprised the federal cabinet that there is no law which allows convicts to travel abroad to visit their ailing relatives,” she added.
MAX RELIEF TO PEOPLE:
Firdous said the federal cabinet deliberated on various suggestions to remove obstacles to provide maximum relief to people as envisioned by PM Imran.
She said the meeting also took stock of the 15-month performance of the government.
It also considered the relief measures to the public, public interest legislation and various initiatives of the government, including subsidy on the prices of gas and electricity, she added.
During the meeting, the PM expressed concerns over the role of the Competition Commission of Pakistan and ordered to make it an active institution, said Firdous, adding that the members had been urged to further strengthen competition commission.
Imran directed the Law Ministry to identify the cases which relate to sugar, flour, and other commodities associations that have taken relief from the courts at the expense of public interest. A committee under Dr Ishrat Hussain was set up to bring policy on food laws in consultation with the provinces.
Firdous said the prime minister took detailed briefing from the Ministry of Water and Power and Ministry of Energy.
The prime minister was informed how circular debt was brought down to Rs12 bn. However, according to the Asian Development Bank Report quoted by an English daily last week: “Government’s efforts and timely subsidy payments have slowed down the flow of circular debt from Rs38 billion per month in August 2018 to Rs21 billion in August 2019.”
The cabinet was also informed that consumers using less than 300 units of electricity have been given a subsidy of Rs242bn. It was informed that industries have been given a subsidy of Rs29bn.
The ministry briefed the cabinet that it inherited a loss of Rs181bn, which was managed by the energy ministry.
The prime minister directed the ministry officials to ensure the provision of uninterrupted gas supply to domestic consumers. As per reports, the PM directed to bring reforms in Sui Southern and Sui Northern Gas companies with the introduction of automation.
Few members expressed concerns over increased electricity bills and asked the concerned minister for providing relief to the people by taking emergency steps. “A mechanism should also be developed for billing so that in winter months the consumers are not burdened with heavy gas bills,” the PM ordered in a bid to allay the concerns.
A summary, which sought holding pre-test before the organisation of Competitive Examination (CSS) for Public Service Commission, was also rejected by the federal cabinet.
The cabinet expressed reservations on the issuance of Sukuk Bonds. The PM directed the Finance Ministry to review the process and present it again in the next meeting.