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Pakistan

Chaudhry hints at breakthrough in govt-opposition talks on electoral reforms

  • Says introduction of EVMs to bring transparency in the electoral system
  • Federal cabinet also approves special allowance of 15 percent of the running basic pay for armed forces personnel of all ranks, adds information minister
Published July 13, 2021

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry hinted on Tuesday at a breakthrough in the government-opposition negotiations on electoral reforms.

The Federal Cabinet was informed that the two sides had reached an understanding on several points and there was a likelihood of further positive development in the coming days, he said, while briefing media after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The minister said the cabinet was given a detailed briefing on electronic voting machines (EVMs), Internet voting, and biometric verification of voters. The objective behind the introduction of EVMs is to bring transparency to the electoral system, he added.

Opposition steps up attacks on govt’s economic policies

The cabinet, he said, was also informed that due to the efforts of Prime Minister Imran, 85 more prisoners jailed in Saudi Arabia were being released and a special plane would be sent to bring them back.

Hundreds of prisoners had already been set free by the Saudi government as per the promise of Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud made during his visit to Pakistan, he added.

Efforts are being made for the release of Pakistanis imprisoned in different countries, who were not involved in serious crimes, the minister said.

The federal cabinet also approved a special allowance of 15 percent of the running basic pay for armed forces personnel of all ranks, Chaudhry said.

Opposition MNAs term budget ‘for the rich and by the rich’

The prime minister observed that Pakistan Rangers and Frontier Constabulary should also be given 15 percent allowance and directed the authorities concerned to take steps in that regard, the minister said.

He further noted that Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan told the cabinet that a record 525,000 anti-Covid vaccine jabs were administered in the country on Monday.

So far over 20 million people had been vaccinated in Pakistan, and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) would give a detailed briefing in that regard on Wednesday, he said.

He informed that corona cases were increasing in Karachi and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, whereas the situation in Punjab and other areas was in control.

He urged the masses to get themselves vaccinated, and pay no heed to the propaganda as over 1.5 billion people across the world had got the shots.

The prime minister, he said, told the cabinet meeting that a record 500 million trees would be planted in the areas under federal and provincial governments of the PTI during the ongoing monsoon season.

He said the cabinet was also briefed on the encroachments in E 8 and E 9 sectors of Islamabad.

All the institutions, including the Pakistan Air Force and the Pakistan Navy, were directed to remove boundary walls built on the green belt around the above sectors, he said.

He said it was a clear message for all that no encroachments would be tolerated anywhere in the federal capital. The Capital Development Authority chairman was directed to take all steps required to make Islamabad an encroachment-free city.

The prime minister, he said, expressed concern over population having doubled in Islamabad from 2010 to 2020, while the green belts were encroached all over the city.

The cabinet, he said, also discussed a report of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions regarding Afghan refugees in the country. Pakistan was already hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees and was expecting more Afghans if the situation there deteriorated, he said.

He said Pakistan was making all possible efforts for a peaceful solution to the Afghan issue.

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