Pakistan

Ministers will hold talks with Gwadar protesters: Fawad Chaudhry

  • Says planning and defence production ministers will meet on behalf of PM
  • Fishermen in the coastal city have been protesting against the devastating impact of illegal fishing in the area
Published December 14, 2021

Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that Asad Umar and Zubaida Jalal Khan will visit Gwadar to hold talks with protesters on behalf of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Aaj News reported.

Asad Umar is the Federal Minister for Planning and Development, while Zubaida Jalal currently serves as the Federal Minister for Defence Production.

"The issue of Gwadar protest also came into discussion during the cabinet meeting. On the directives of the Prime Minister, the two ministers will visit Gwadar and will address the grievances of the people of the coastal city," Fawad said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad after the cabinet meeting.

He said that PM Khan had already taken notice of the matter and the demands of protesters were being considered with seriousness.

Prime Minister on Sunday took notice of the "very legitimate demands" of Gwadar's fishermen, saying strong action will be taken against illegal trawling in the area.

"I have taken notice of the very legitimate demands of the hardworking fishermen of Gwadar. Will be taking strong action against illegal fishing by trawlers," the premier tweeted.

The fishermen in Gwadar have been protesting against the devastating impact of illegal fishing by trawlers along the coast on the livelihoods of local fishermen.

The protesters, led by Maulana Hidayat-ur-Rehman, Balochistan gen­­eral secretary of Ja­­m­a­at-i-Islami, have vowed to continue their campaign till the achievement of their demands.

PM Imran promises 'strong action' against illegal fishing in Gwadar

"One of their demands is the availability of clean drinkable water. The federal government has approved multi-billion rupees projects for the provision of drinkable water in Gwadar. We are spending more on water projects in Gwadar than we did in Islamabad,” Fawad said, adding that out of Rs700 billion approved for southern Balochistan, a whopping Rs560 billion will be provided by the federal government.

PM to announce ‘big’ package for Balochistan: Fawad

“If the issues of Balochistan are not being resolved even after injecting so much money, then there is a need of a reassessment to identify the bottlenecks in the implementation of the projects,” Fawad said.

'Inflation is going down'

The federal minister said it was very reassuring that the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) has shown a downward trend for the third consecutive week, indicating a decrease in inflation across the country.

He said that the prices of tomato, potato, and chicken have gone down, while the prices of sugar and wheat flour have been maintained throughout the week.

"Although we are an agricultural country, we import pulses from the countries like New Zealand and Australia. Due to such issues, the country faces imported inflation."

PM advocates financial autonomy for Karachi

Fawad said that the inflation in Karachi and Hyderabad was still very high as compared to other cities. "A 20kg bag of flour costs Rs1347 in Karachi and Hyderabad, and Rs1400 in Quetta. This is Rs250 higher per 20kg bag as compared to the rest of the country."

Similarly, sugar is also being sold at a higher rate in Sindh. He also requested the Sindh government to maintain its control on the prices of everyday use commodities, adding that 40 percent impact on SPI comes directly from Karachi.

The minister noted that under the Sehat Card, the government will bear all health-related expenses of people across the country barring Sindh, as their provincial government had refused to join the federal government's health insurance programme.

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