- PPP, PML-N seek to “deprive” overseas Pakistanis of the right to vote: Fawad Chaudhry
- New ordinance requires members to take oath within 60 days, says information minister.
- Pakistan’s “debt-to-GDP” ratio is consistently declining, he adds.
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudry on Tuesday accused the PML-N and PPP of conspiring to “deprive overseas Pakistanis of the right to vote” in the next general elections.
Addressing a press briefing following a meeting of the federal cabinet, the information minister highlighted the importance of expats to Pakistan, saying that if they did not send remittances to the country, the economy would have been in a very rocky state.
Speaking of the government’s proposed electoral reforms, which the Opposition parties have rejected and which include the use of electronic voting machines in the 2023 general elections, Chaudhry said that the EVM is “an important component of the judicial commission’s recommendations”.
He said that Minister of Science Shibli Faraz has briefed the cabinet on the use of the EVM.
Read more: Shibli Faraz invites FAFEN, PILDAT to inspect newly-developed EVMs
Taking a jibe at the PML-N in particular, he said that the party had “never won an election transparently”.
Lawmakers to take oath within 60 days
Chaudhry announced that the Cabinet has approved the ordinance to set a time frame for lawmakers to take oath for the Senate, National, and Provincial Assemblies.
Assembly members will be required to take oath in 60 days. The seats of members who fail to take an oath will be considered vacant, Chaudhry said.
Moving on to foreign matters, the information minister stated that India should refrain “from intervening in Afghanistan”.
He said that “India used Afghan territory against Pakistan.”
The information minister said that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi briefed the cabinet on the situation in Afghanistan.
Chaudhry said that Pakistan is playing a “responsible” role regarding “governance in Afghanistan”. He further revealed that Pakistan is in touch with Turkey, China and other countries on the issue of Afghanistan.
Chaudhry added that Pakistan “is facilitating the evacuation” of more people from Kabul. “Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has facilitated the evacuation of 1,500 people from Kabul,” said Chaudhry.
Chaudhry further said that the foreign minister will be departing for his visit to the Central Asian states and Iran this evening.
Read more: With focus on Afghanistan, FM Qureshi to visit CARs, Iran
Chaudhry, in his briefing, also went over some of the country’s important economic indicators and said that they are stable.
He said that inflation is “continuing to decline” while exports are on the rise.
The information minister said that the “price trends” for the country are “positive” and foreign investment indicators show stability.
Chaudhry added that Pakistan’s “debt-to-GDP” ratio is consistently declining, due to which confidence in business has gone up.
“The business index has recorded a significant increase of 108%,” he said.
Read more: Pakistani witnesses record improvement in business confidence: survey
Talking about the coronavirus pandemic, Chaudhry said that the health sectors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab are under pressure due to a rise in cases.
The minister said that the manufacturing of 37 new drugs has begun in Pakistan, the prices for which have been fixed, whereas, the prices for 12 other medicines have been revised.
Speaking of the incident at Minar-e-Pakistan, Chaudhry said that the prime minister has termed it “worrying”.
He added that a high-level committee is being formed to aid the government on the matter.