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ISLAMABAD: As the opposition parties are busy in making tall claims of having enough members to oust the prime minister, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that at least three PTI MNAs were offered cash in return for their support to the likely no-confidence motion.

Talking to journalists along with State Minister for Information Farrukh Habib after a meeting of party’s central executive committee, Chaudhary without mentioning the name of the opposition party, Chaudhary said: “It’s quite shameful that at least three PTI MNAs including a female member and one from minority group were offered bribe for changing their loyalties during no-trust move”.

He said the CEC meeting took stock of the opposition’s planned no-trust move, visit of the prime minister to Russia, and the upcoming local government elections in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

He lauded the PTI lawmakers for reposing confidence in the party leadership, adding the opposition’s bid to bribe these PTI MNAs was evidence enough to expose the agenda of the meeting of two “big dealers” in Lahore on Tuesday night.

He challenged the opposition to table the no-trust motion within 24 hours as he dubbed Zardari and Shehbaz the two big glaring example of corruption, accusing them of meeting to discuss the contributions they would make for horse-trading.

He alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) were striving to revive the corrupt practice of horse-trading, but we are keeping a close eye on that and we will not let that happen.

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Chaudhry said the two leaders had submitted certificates to courts claiming they were ill “but they are holding meetings publicly in visibly good health.”

“Shehbaz Sharif is out of jail just because his cases are not being heard on a day-to-day basis and chances are getting brighter that his cases will be taken up for hearing on a daily basis,” he added.

The information minister said the government was preparing for the next elections and more relief packages will be announced for the people in the weeks to come, adding, the country and the national economy were heading in the right direction.

About the prime minister’s visit to Russia, he added, in prevailing global scenario, it had become most significant since the world would be focusing on Moscow — the meeting venue of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In an interview with a Russian television the other day, the prime minister elaborated main features of foreign policy, categorically stating that Pakistan would not be part of any bloc.

He said that after decades, Pakistan is fully ensuring its sovereignty under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, adding Pakistan’s key role after withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, which was duly acknowledged by the world community.

The minister said Pakistan had advised former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to opt for dialogue and inclusive government in the war-torn country.

About the current situation in Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was focusing on the humanitarian crisis as Afghans were facing severe shortage of edibles and food items.

He said the oil prices in international markets had touched $100 per barrel due to the prevailing issues between Russia and Ukraine, eventually affecting the whole world including Pakistan.

He pointed out the 40 percent wheat share of Russia-Ukraine of global produce, and added “if the tension continues, it may lead to the food crisis in the world.”

In the given scenario, he said, Pakistan wanted to move forward with a balanced approach to sort out the issues.

Referring to the PM’s recent China visit, the minister said Pakistan’s delegation was given warm receptions by the Chinese President and Premier, and eventually China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would get a boost.

He said the world community fully recognised Pakistan’s efforts to effectively tackle coronavirus pandemic, adding world figures such as Bill Gates, co-Founder of Microsoft, visited Pakistan that was a good sign for the country.

Acknowledging Pakistan’s achievement on various fronts and prudent foreign policy, the minister said the CEC reposed full confidence in the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the incumbent PTI government.

To a question, Chaudhary said a specific law may be discussed in an open manner to effectively check misuse of different legal options, adding defamation was dealt under the civil law and added false accusation and maligning were well-defined under Islamic laws with strict penalties.

The minister said that PML-N leader Marriyum Aurangzeb was apparently in panic and issuing a statement about the military, with the approval of Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif, was an attempt to create division among the state institutions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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