- Information minister says Prime Minister Imran Khan has also directed Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar to take necessary steps in order to bring down the price of LPG cylinders
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry reiterated Tuesday that Pakistani government hopes that after Taliban takeover in the neighbouring country, India will not be able to use the Afghan soil against Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Fawad said that the new Afghan authorities have given a clear stance and "we hope they won’t allow Afghanistan’s soil to be used against any country and there would be a reduction in Indian mischief and funding to use Afghan soil against Pakistan”.
He also said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Energy Minister Hammad Azhar to take necessary steps in order to bring down the price of LPG cylinders.
He said that only 28 percent people use piped gas, whereas, remaining have been using LPG cylinders. The minister said that tax collection in the month of August was 64 percent compared to the same month a year before.
"We are collecting record breaking tax and hopefully there would be a record collection," he added. The Cabinet was also briefed about US$3 billion pipeline project between Russia and Pakistan and informed that it would open a new avenue of economic relations between the two countries.
The prime minister has also invited President Putin to visit Pakistan, said the minister.
He said that talks on the project would be held at the Foreign Office level.
Meanwhile, Fawad said that 10,302 NATO personnel and its allies came to Pakistan during the withdrawal from Afghanistan and out of the total, 9,032 have returned to their countries and the remaining would return in a day or two.
Pakistan would continue to support the Afghan people in collaboration with the international organisations and hoped that the 40-year history of suffering of the Afghan people would end and the country would take a sigh of relief.
Pakistan would be able to further strengthen its ties with a stable Afghanistan, he added.
On the topic of evacuations, he said that from day one, Pakistan has said that it would help irrespective of nationalities to get the forces out of Afghanistan.
While giving details of those who came to Pakistan during the evacuation process, the minister said that 2,421 people came to Pakistan through Torkham, which included 821 Afghans and 1,570 Pakistanis.
He said that Pakistan’s role in evacuation process was being praised.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is the first government that is talking about electoral reforms, and without free, fair and transparent elections, democracy in the country cannot be imagined, Fawad added.
The minister said that discussion on electoral reforms is essential to ensure free, fair and transparent elections in the country and the present government has been trying to move forward with the opposition on electoral reforms issue but regretted that the opposition was very non serious and was criticising even without reading the electoral reforms proposals. He further stated that Shehbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto have not read the electoral reforms proposals.
The minister said that unless the electoral process is free, fair and impartial, democracy would not be able to flourish in the country or take root. The minister said that Dr Ishrat Husain also met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and presented a performance report on institutional reforms. The report includes not only the reforms introduced but also a detailed future strategy in this regard.
The prime minister appreciated the services of Dr Ishrat Husain and wished him well for the future, the minister added. He said that the present government has been giving importance to the working class abroad, so far 16,272 people have been brought back who were languishing in foreign jails for minor crimes.
Fawad said that the prime minister has also spoken to his British counterpart Boris Johnson on the issue of Pakistan being placed on the red list by the UK. The British government believes that there is a need to discuss testing procedures inside Pakistan.
"We are doing our best to get Pakistan out of the UK red list," Fawad said, adding that a detailed session would be held between Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan and Britain’s chief medical scientist. The minister said that 1.4 million persons were vaccinated in Pakistan on Tuesday, and now the country would be able to vaccinate children up to the age of 17. The minister said that the labourers would get booster shot free of cost.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021