ISLAMABAD, Oct 13 (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Tuesday said the government would adopt a coordinated mechanism to bring prices down and improve supplies of the commodities by anticipating shortages.
Addressing a press conference here to give details of the decisions taken in the weekly cabinet meeting and a meeting on price control, he said the government was aware that the price hike was a serious issue, which had adversely affected the low and middle income groups.
The meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan was also attended by provincial chief secretaries and food secretaries, he added.
The minister held the Sindh government responsible for the wheat shortage and difference of its price in the provinces.
He said the wheat crop was affected in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to rains. Both the private and public sectors had imported wheat and now the government had enough reserves to overcome any shortages, he added.
The people, he said, had to bear the hike in wheat prices due to insincerity of the Sindh government, which had now agreed to release the stocks to stabilize the supply and price of the commodity.
He said the cabinet was told that the loan owed by Roosevelt Hotel in New York was paid to the JP Morgan Bank and now the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) had complete ownership of the hotel.
He said despite the coronavirus pandemic, the revenue of PIA increased. The government had no plan to sell the Roosevelt Hotel, he added.
Shibli Faraz said the prime minister expressed dismay at the trend of establishing multiple camp offices, and stated that the rulers and the people should have the same lifestyle.
Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, while in the highest offices, enjoyed lavish lifestyles with many camp offices where hundreds of policemen were deployed, he recalled.
He said the cabinet allowed maximum of one camp office whose expenditure would be capped.
The minister asserted that the government was not worried about the activities of the opposition and would let it do whatever it wanted to.
Majority of the opposition leaders were facing serious charges of corruption, cases against many of them were in courts, some of them were convicted and some were on bail, he added.
He said the opposition was carrying out its political activity at a time when the economy was improving and jobs were being created despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The opposition parties, he said, were rejected by the people and had no future because they wanted to only save their leaders and their looted wealth.
They wanted to put pressure on the government through their political activity but they would not get any concession in the corruption cases, he stressed.
Shibli Faraz recalled that after the general elections 2013, some 413 petitions were filed in the Election Commission while after the 2018 polls, their number was 287, 90 of them for the National Assembly seats, including 13 submitted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and 11 by the PML-N. The PTI lost 16 seats by a margin of 50 to 2500 votes.
He said in his view the opposition got more seats despite their corruption and bad governance. The people rejected Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and both the PML-N and the Pakistan Peoples Party abandoned him when he came to Islamabad the last time, he added.
He said the opposition parties had no moral ground to agitate on the streets and their leadership wanted a country where they could further amass wealth through corruption.
To a question, the minister said the PTI government improved the economy, which was damaged by the previous regime.
The efforts to further expand the economy were hampered by the coronavirus, which caused negative economic growth in leading economies of the world as well, he added.
He said the prime minister was most worried about the economic conditions of poor people.
He said both the PML-N and PPP leaders had double standards as they were asking the people to take to the streets despite the threat of coronavirus.
He assured that the gas prices would not be raised for consumers. The Sindh government’s refusal to give right of way for a pipeline disrupted the gas supplies, he added.
The minister said the government would improve the financial situation of institutions and decrease the circular debt in the power and gas sectors.
Electricity rates in Karachi were raised to end disparity with other parts of the country, he added.
To a question, he said the Tiger Force comprising volunteers, including teachers, students, doctors and other segments of society would just keep a check on the prices in their areas as it had no administrative power.
To another question, Shibli Faraz said the family of Maryam Safdar looted the national wealth and the courts gave verdicts against them.
He said the ideologies of the Sharif family changed like the changing weather and it was responsible for the present difficulties of the people.
The PTI, he said, would be even in power in 2028 contrary to what the opposition was saying.
According to a press release, the cabinet appreciated the performance of Punjab government and law enforcement institutions for arresting the main accused of the motorway incident.
The cabinet approved the establishment of new gas terminals in view of the gas needs in the winter. It was given a briefing on initiating e-office application in the ministries by December.
The cabinet considered the financial and legal matters of National Information Technology Board.
It was reaffirmed that encroachments on green belts would not be allowed.
The cabinet approved the posting of members on the board of Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC).
The cabinet was also given a briefing on the financial affairs of Roosevelt Hotel. It was told that the hotel was suffering from losses, and the government took a timely decision and made a payment of more than $ 100 million to secure the national asset.
The cabinet approved the Export Import Bank of Pakistan Act 2020.
The cabinet was also briefed about the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) that the sales at its stores had increased by seven percent, while its losses were reduced from Rs 8.7 billion to Rs 2.3 billion.
The USC chairman said sugar was being sold at Rs 68 per kilogram at its outlets.
The cabinet approved the budget estimates of Capital Development Authority for the year 2019-20 and 2020-21.
It also approved the suggestion of sending material assistance to Niger in view of rains and floods there.
The cabinet allowed one camp office each for the president and the prime minister.
The PM instructed that the expenditure on the camp offices should be capped.
The cabinet decided to review the expenditures incurred by the past presidents and prime ministers.