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Death penalty not applicable on extradited suspects: information minister

April 16, 2019
Death penalty not applicable on extradited suspects: information minister

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry says the death penalty won’t be applicable on suspects extradited from the EU and other countries.

He was addressing the media in Islamabad on Tuesday after a meeting of the federal cabinet.

Chaudhry said an amendment to the Pakistan Penal Code has been approved. One of the reasons the government is not able to extradite wanted suspects from different countries is that Pakistan has capital punishment for certain offenses, he said, adding that to make sure Pakistan gets these suspects back, the handing over agreements of such convicts will have a clause that the death penalty is not applicable in such cases.

He said the government has decided to extradite a Pakistani citizen Noman Hanif, son of Hanif Jan Mohammad. The UAE government had requested his extradition, said Chaudhry, adding that the government has decided to establish a cultural centre at the Kartarpur Corridor. The Lok Virsa has been given a contract for the cultural centre as well as a media centre, he said.

CTD to investigate money laundering cases

The information minister said that in compliance with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force, the government has decided to give the provincial Counter Terrorism Departments mandate to investigate the money laundering cases.

Tax amnesty scheme

The proposal of the asset declaration scheme was discussed in the federal cabinet meeting and Chaudhy says it was agreed that further deliberation is needed before the scheme is rolled out.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has called a special meeting at 2pm tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the amnesty scheme. “We were hoping to implement the scheme in the next 24 hours but now that won’t be possible,” said Chaudhry.

The federal cabinet expressed reservations over the recent money laundering cases. “The way Shehbaz Sharif and his family laundered money is because of the acts of former rulers. It is because of them that Pakistan is facing an economic crisis,” he said.

Revamping the Pakistan Steel Mills

Pakistan Steel Mills was a profitable organisation before Zardari came into power, said Chaudhry. Zardari didn’t stop until he ran PSM to the ground, he added.

Due to the goodwill of the prime minister, six companies have expressed interest in becoming partners in PSM, the information minister said. There’s a suggestion to run the mill on a public-private partnership model, he said.

Currently, the maximum capacity of the PSM is 1.1 million tonnes, he said, adding that the government wants to increase it to 3 million tonnes without affecting the businesses of private steel producers. Our daily demand is 9 million tonnes, he said.

Renewal of Telcos licenses

The renewal of telecommunication licenses is an important matter that has been under discussion as it involves millions of dollars. “It is a huge transaction that is going to take place. The prime minister has taken PTA’s opinion and formed a five-member cabinet committee that will evaluate the PTA’s recommendation,” said Chaudhry.

The committee comprises Federal Minister for IT Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, Finance Minister Asad Umar, Advisor for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production to PM Abdur Razzak Dawood, Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar and Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.

‘Govt won’t hire favourites anymore’

The federal government has decided to change its hiring policies. Earlier, officers were “favoured” for recruitment in grade 1 to grade 5. MNAs and MPAs were given a quota to recruit their own people, said Chaudhry. We are abolishing all such quotas, he said.

From now on, all hiring will be done through balloting, the minister announced. He said there’s a need to revamp the federal service commission and increase its capacity.

We have received complaints about the National Testing Service on the Citizen Portal. NTS is used for hiring on positions for grade 15 and above, he said. “It has been said that their testing service is not fool-proof,” said Chaudhry.

The Establishment Division has been asked to revamp the testing service companies and make sure that they fulfil the criteria. “Only the companies approved by the establishment division will be able to conduct tests now,” he said.

PM to inaugurate Naya Ghar Housing scheme

The information minister said that PM Khan will inaugurate the Naya Ghar Housing scheme tomorrow (Wednesday). In the first phase, 135,000 apartments will be built, he said. Overall, five million housing units will be constructed in the next five years, said Chaudhry.

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