No lockdown will be imposed as country can’t afford it: Fawad

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet has decided that no lockdown will be imposed in the country as Pakistan’s economy cannot afford this.
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry said this while briefing the media persons about the decisions taken by the federal cabinet on Tuesday.
Fawad said the cabinet was briefed about Covid situation in the country. He, however, appealed to the people to observe precautionary measures, especially wearing of face masks at public places, to prevent spread of the virus. He said the government will keep monitoring the situation.
He said the cabinet approved to proceed against Shehbaz Sharif in the Lahore High Court (LHC) for submitting a false affidavit to pave the way for Nawaz Sharif to go abroad. The minister said that Nawaz Sharif’s proceeding abroad on the pretext of medical reasons was an utter fraud. He said that Nawaz Sharif has been living in London for 17 months, but he has not undergone any treatment.
He said the Punjab government has rejected all the medical reports submitted by the Sharif family. He said that Pakistan’s High Commission in London also contacted the Sharif family twice, but the latter did not cooperate.
Fawad said that Shehbaz Sharif had submitted an affidavit guaranteeing return of his elder brother, who neither got any treatment nor returned to Pakistan. He said that Shehbaz Sharif was fully involved in Nawaz Sharif’s escape from the country. He said the government will pray to the court that Shehbaz Sharif should be disqualified for submitting a false affidavit or he should be bound to bring back his brother as per promise.
Regarding electronic voting machines (EVMs), the minister said the Ministry of Science and Technology has been directed to provide EVMs to the Election Commission of Pakistan to hold next elections in Islamabad through these machines to ensure transparency.
Fawad said the cabinet also approved the launching of a housing project on 400 kanals for overseas Pakistanis. He said that overseas Pakistanis can procure apartments in this project through Roshan Digital Accounts. He said the government will fetch around $2 billion through this project. He said the cabinet also directed to frame a policy to enable foreigners to procure land in Pakistan.
The federal cabinet has directed both the ministries Interior and Finance to hold deliberations with boards of investment and review such schemes to facilitate foreigners in buying properties in Pakistan, he added.
The minister said the federal cabinet approved electricity tariff adjustment of one rupee per unit for next three months to provide relief to the people. The adjustment would be given to consumers in three instalments.
Referring to the tragic incidents of Murree, the minister said the prime minister expressed deep grief and sorrow over the deaths of tourists there. He said that according to the preliminary investigation, the deaths occurred due to increased levels of carbon monoxide in vehicles.
The minister said the PTI government is the first government that gave due importance to the tourism sector. He said thirteen new tourist resorts have been established. He said the structure of the tourism sector is being improved to ensure proper facilities to tourists. Before Imran Khan became PM, he visited Kumrat valley and the pictures released by him went viral, and a large number of people thronged the valley.
Pointing to the immense potential of the tourism sector in Pakistan, Fawad said it must be given industry status to make Pakistan economically strong. He said that affairs were reviewed by the cabinet to improve arrangements in Murree, adding new rules would be made in that regard.
The cabinet, he said, approved the appointment of Asif Rashid as chairman Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) while two members from Punjab and one each from other provinces to its copyrights board.
The cabinet accorded approval for making the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as regulator of ‘Credit Guarantee Trust Fund’, under the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Act, 2020 to prevent illicit capital from being transferred abroad.
The cabinet granted approval for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) budget 2021-22 and revised estimates, he maintained. He said CDA chairman apprised the Cabinet that the authority has generated revenue of Rs12.9 billion in 2018 after selling 53,817 square yards of land during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N). On the contrary, he said it fetched Rs31.1 billion in 2021 during PTI rule with sale of 46,783 square yards. The federal apex agency generated double revenue by selling less land.
The Cabinet has deferred the approval for regularization of Non-Custom Paid (NCP) vehicles in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The Minister said the Cabinet approved the appointment of Dr Liaqat Massih Qaiser as member to National Commission for Minorities.
Besides, Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, Sambarial-Kharian Motorway, import of urea from China, and privatisation of Guddu and Nandipur power plants were approved. – TLTP

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