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ISLAMABAD: The increasing fuel prices are due to the wrong decisions and policies of the previous government, which at first, signed “an inappropriate agreement” with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and then opted for non-compliance with it, said Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Saturday.

The minister addressed a press conference and also spoke at a ceremony, here.

Sanaullah said there was an imminent danger that the government might default, had the incumbent government gone for fresh elections.

All political forces could jointly take the country out of the crisis, he said, adding that “We have to work together for the progress and the prosperity of the country.”

However, he said, Imran Khan alone was pushing the country towards anarchy and chaos. “Our country was achieved through a long struggle and unmatched sacrifices rendered by our elders, and we would not let anybody jeopardize it,” he added.

He said that the government has decided to ensure 100 per cent coverage of CCTV cameras of Islamabad Safe City Project during the current fiscal year.

Addressing a press conference here, the minister said Safe City Project was need of hour to ensure effective security, prevent crime and effectively maintain law and order in any city of the country including Islamabad.

Currently, only 30 per cent cameras of Safe City Project were providing coverage adding that the Prime Minister has decided to enhance its coverage to 100 per cent during the current fiscal year. The minister said that the government had devised a system that would not let any “mob” enter Islamabad’s D-Chowk.

Sanaullah said police had only used teargas and rubber bullets on the miscreant mob during the last Haqeeqi Azadi March.

He added that it was conveyed that the teargas shell were expired but those were bought by the previous interior minister. Sanaullah said that the expired tear gas, which he claimed was bought by his “predecessors”, had finished. “Now they will get everything effective, fresh and updated if the need arises.

“I have a message for the miscreant mob; we have bought new teargas shells and their concern has been addressed”, the Interior minister warned. “But it would be better if they don’t create a situation,” he suggested.

His tear gas mention also follows the opposition party’s accusations that the Islamabad police had used expired tear gas against PTI supporters during the party’s May 25 Azadi March — the day former prime minister Imran Khan had marched onto the capital for “Haqeeqi Azadi.

The minister also lauded the Islamabad police for bringing the situation under control just through rubber bullets and tear gas. “I want to tell them that they didn’t just save Islamabad that day, but also democracy.” He said in the future any such “seditious” rallies won’t be tolerated in Islamabad. “This page of anyone sabotaging, threatening or surrounding Islamabad has been torn. The state is now rid of such threats forever,” Sanaullah added.

The minister said that Imran should “correct” his matters and refrain from “creating rebellion and instability” in the country. “He should indulge in peaceful and national politics.”

“All the political parties in the country at the moment are on one side, trying to solve the ongoing crises, while Imran Khan is busy abusing everyone and playing the politics of hatred,” the minister said, underscoring the need for political consensus.

To another question, he said the PM was ready for political and economic consensus and all other political parties were ready for that except one party led by Imran Khan. Shehbaz Sharif being an opposition leader and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had offered the then prime minister at floor of house that they were ready for charter of economy.

But unfortunately, the then-premier resorted to non-parliamentary language besides threatening them to dire consequences, he said. The minister recalled how, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif invited all political leadership including Imran Khan to PM House for devising joint consensus after Army Public School Peshawar attack in 2014. Regarding the increasing fuel prices, the minister said the government was cognizant of the hardship being faced by the people. It was due to the wrong decisions and policies of the previous government which at first signed an inappropriate agreement with the international lending agency and then opted for non-compliance with the pact, he added.

Sanaullah said there was imminent danger that the government might default, had the incumbent government gone for fresh elections.

Regarding dialogue with TTP, the minister said it would be under the ambit of constitution adding that the parliamentary committee of the parliament has permitted the military leadership in this regard.

The police in the Federal capital like their compatriots elsewhere in the country have added a golden chapter in the history, written with blood of their martyrs, said the minister while addressing a ceremony held here to pay tribute to martyrs of Islamabad police. There ceremony was attended by officials of Islamabad police while families of martyred police personnel were especially invited who received cheques following directions of the prime minister to ensure immediate payment to them.

The minister said the courageous role played by the police in the capital has won hearts of people. Everyone is proud that Islamabad Police has always kept dictum of duty before self and the entire nation and the police department is proud of its brave and gallant Shaheeds.

“We are proud of martyrs of all police officials who have written golden chapter with their blood and ensured protection to the lives and property of the citizens,” he added.

Despite tough economic circumstances, he said that it was decided to give cheques to the families of martyred personnel. He said there was no compensation to life but it was responsibility of the government to provide assistance to families of martyred cops.

Sanaullah also announced an increase in the salaries of Islamabad police. “They had always demanded that their salaries should be equal to those of Punjab police. And we have finally accepted their demands in this budget.” This will have an impact of Rs788 million on the budget, he added.

Sanaullah also revealed that payments of Rs1.2 billion to the families of martyrs, which were pending for the past four years, would immediately be disbursed as well.

Separately, a 100-bed hospital will also be built for the Islamabad police, which would be completed with an estimated amount of Rs 5 billion. The PM would lay foundation of the hospital this month for which an amount of Rs 300 million has already been released, he said. He said all efforts would be made to complete the project during the current fiscal year. “I am thankful to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who did not delay this project despite the current financial crunch

The minister further announced that the government had increased the ration allowance of Frontier Corps officers and it would now be equal to that of other armed forces.

He also condemned the attack on journalist Ayaz Amir in Lahore and gave assurances that the police was pursuing the case.

He also awarded those policemen who participated in operation against Bilal Sabit gang.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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