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Cabinet sets deadlines on EVMs, I-voting, approves transit for Afghans

Punjab govt ordered immediate trial in Sialkot incident

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Posted: Dec 7, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago

Soure: PID

Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that the federal cabinet has decided to allow Afghan nationals to travel to other countries from Pakistani airports.

He was addressing a press conference after the federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

The minister said that that the decision was taken to facilitate Afghan citizens.

Fawad Chaudhry said that Pakistan is trying its best to provide aid to the Afghan people. He said that Pakistan is hosting OIC’s foreign ministers’ conference on the issue.

The minister revealed that 250,000 metric tons of wheat will be sent to Afghanistan. 50,000 metric tons is from the World Food Program and Pakistan is providing the rest.

Chaudhry said that Pakistan has also abolished import duty on 40 items from Afghanistan. This is done to facilitate the people of Afghanistan, he added.

‘We are not India’

The information minister said that the federal cabinet has pledged to serve justice in the Sialkot incident soon.

The cabinet has instructed the Punjab government to immediately initiate trials of those arrested in connection with Sialkot incident and award exemplary punishment to the culprits, Radio Pakistan reported. 

“The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is liable to safeguard the rights of every individual from minorities. We are determined to it. We are not Hindustan [India],” Chaudhry said.

He lauded the Pakistani nation’s reaction to the lynching of Sri Lankan national Priyantha Kumara in Sialkot on December 3. “The response from the government of Pakistan and the society has proved that we are different, unlike India or any other country where such incident happens and no action is taken,” he added.

In India, he said, such incidents happen on the regular basis but no actions are taken against the culprits.

“As the Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the whole nation is united on this like the way we were after the APS incident,” he said. “Every Pakistani is strongly condemning this and it encouraged the government to take serious steps against such incidents in future.”

Federal cabinet approves schedule for EVMs, I-voting

The federal cabinet has also approved the schedule for the implementation of the Electronic Voting Machines and i-voting facility for the overseas Pakistanis.

National Database Registration Authority (Nadra) has been given four months to update its system for i-voting.

According to the documents, technical details will be finalized by December 15. In January next year, the tender will be floated for EVMs.

The planning ministry will provide space for the EVM warehouses in the H-8 area of Islamabad.

The finance ministry has been asked to make sure provision of funds to the ECP.

The foreign ministry will run the campaign for i-voting while the information ministry will be responsible for running a campaign for the EVMs.

By June 15, 2023, the government plans to provide EVMs to the ECP.

The federal information minister said that the sole objective of the PTI to introduce the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) is to make elections free fair.

Fawad Chaudhry said that according to him, the best way to go forward for the ECP is to put forward their list of 27 conditions and float a tender based on their requirements. Manufacturers will bring their EVMs and you just implement it, he said.

‘We want Hassan, Hussain Nawaz to be able to vote for papa’s party’

The information minister said that the kind of campaign that the PML-N and PPP have been running against [giving voting rights to] overseas Pakistanis is political suicide. There are 10 million Pakistanis who are living abroad but their families are in Pakistan, he said. “You have been running a campaign against them,” the minister said.

It seems that only PTI is solely responsible for the overseas Pakistanis, Chaudhry said adding that many of them are not PTI supporters. We even want to give them rights, he added.

“Right now, Nawaz Sharif’s own family is living abroad, though they say that they are British nationals… Still, we want to give Hassan and Hussain a chance to vote for their papa’s party,” the minister said.

Increase petroleum dealers margin

The federal cabinet has approved the increase in the margin of petroleum dealers margin.

Last month, Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) called off the nationwide strike after the government agreed to increase their profit margin to 4.4%. Earlier, it was 3.9%. They wanted the government to increase it to 6%.

Committee to recommend changes in Public accounts Committee

Prime Minister Imran Khan recently met the PTI MNAs who are on the public accounts committee.

“We believe that better the working of the Public Accounts Committee, more it will promote transparency in Pakistan,” the minister said.

A committee comprising Dr Sania Nashtar, secretary cabinet, and PTI’s chief whip in the National Assembly Amir Dogar has been formed. It will recommend amendments to the workings of the public accounts committee to make it more efficient, he said.

‘Prices of essential commodities going down’

The federal minister said that the comparative analysis of prices was presented in the cabinet meeting today. There’s been a campaign going on that inflation is too high but in reality, the prices of essentials have gone down, the minister said.

“The weekly sensitive price index shows that prices of essential products have gone down by 0.48 percent,” he claimed.

Chaudhry said that the government cannot subsidize everything but if you look at the wheat/flour price, then after the 30% concession that the government is rolling out in January through the ration program, people will get the flour at rates lower than 2018 prices. The rationing program is for households with a monthly income of less than Rs31,000.

He also claimed that Sugar is being sold at Rs90 per kg all over the country except for Karachi and Islamabad where it’s being sold at Rs97 per kg.

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