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ISLAMABAD: The government said on Tuesday that the agriculture ministry is bringing a new proposal in the upcoming budget to spend Rs110 billion in the next three years in the farm sector that would bring about a revolution in the agriculture sector.

This was stated by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary during a press conference after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, adding that the cabinet also decided to send assistance to Palestine not only for Covid-19 but also to deal with the medical situation arising out from growing Israeli belligerence.

The minister said he wanted to share “some good news” as the number of mobile and broadband users has increased significantly, Rs1.1 trillion transferred into the rural economy have created thousands of jobs, and now the Ministry of Agriculture is bringing a new proposal to spend Rs110 billion in the agriculture sector over the next three years that would bring about a revolution in the sector and especially milk production will increase five times.

He said that this would be a well-coordinated plan of the Ministry of Agriculture to increase the productivity of the farm sector.

The minister said that the number of mobile consumers has increased from 167 million to 184 million while the number of broadband users has gone up from 77 million to 100 million.

Additionally, he said tractors’ sales have increased 55 percent growth and Kisan cards would also be started soon.

He said five Muslim-majority countries' foreign ministers would visit New York. Pakistan provided leadership to the Muslim Ummah on the issue of Palestine, he added.

The foundation of Pakistan's policy on Palestine was laid down by the founder of country Quaid-i-Azam and now Prime Minister Imran Khan has taken its ownership, he added.

The minister said the cabinet congratulated the prime minister on his successful visit to Saudi Arabia.

Chaudhary said that up till now investigation proved that no minister or adviser was involved in the Rawalpindi Ring Road scam, and now, the anti-corruption and other concerned departments would thoroughly investigate the matter.

He said that, unlike the opposition’s claim, the government saved billions of rupees as 29 kilometers new loop for making Attock part of it to facilitate some private housing societies required the acquisition of Rs23 billion lands in Attock.

And this amount has been saved and Rs2.3 billion released for land acquisition would be retrieved.

He said the cabinet discussed the issue of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project that was conceived in 2017, and in January 2019 its proposal of initial alignment was approved.

The inquiry was started after the prime minister received an anonymous message from an engineer who told the PM that the project’s alignment had been changed.

Upon this prime minister ordered an initial investigation and asked the relevant officials whether or not alignment was changed, he said and added that officials’ response was there was no modification in alignment.

However, he said that subsequently, the prime minister ordered an independent investigation and the initial fact-sheet of that inquiry identified a change in the alignment of 29 kilometers that was made to take into the loop the housing societies being built at Attock.

As a result, he said, the government was able to save billions of rupees of the national exchequer.

The minister said the PML-N leaders would not have claimed misappropriation in the project had they read the inquiry report.

He said that 29-kilometer alignment was added to the plan directly facilitate some housing societies, and SAPM Zulfi Bukhari and minister Ghulam Sarwar had nothing to do with the scam. Zulfi Bukhari has taken high moral ground and resigned, he added.

The minister said the Election Commission’s report 2019 would be laid in the Parliament and the government, adding that the Speaker would invite the parliamentary leaders this week to see for themselves “the EVM machines, and their working”.

The minister said the government was doing all this to ensure transparency in the elections and once for all bury the allegations of rigging.

He said the opposition’s narrative on the electoral reforms reflects that it does not believe in free and fair elections, adding that “especially the Pakistan Muslim League (N) is against reforms”.

He said that from Monday the government would begin debate on the issue of the electoral reforms in the Assembly after laying the Election Commission report.

The minister said that the PPP and PML-N are making their policy clear on giving right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.

He said that overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of the economy and have remitted historic remittance.

He said the government is also bringing an ordinance to de-seat those members of the parliament who fail to take oath within six months after being elected. In this regard, he referred to Senator Ishaq Dar, who has not taken oath so far.

The minister said that Friday is being observed as a solidarity day with the people of Palestine.

He said that Muslim Ummah would be united on the platform of the UN General Assembly.

He said that after the sugar scandal and government action, “tax from the sugar industry increased 300 times,” and the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) is proactively working against cartelisation.

The prime minister's stance on Kashmir is very clear, the minister added.

The cabinet granted a licence to M Fly Jinnah Services Limited.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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