Tuesday Jun 08, 2021
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said Pakistan's upcoming tour to England would not be broadcast in the country due to a license issue with Indian broadcasters.
The first match of the series, an ODI, will be played at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff on July 8.
The minister, addressing a press conference in Islamabad after the federal cabinet's meeting, said PTV's request for a contract with Indian broadcasters Star and Asia — who have the rights to air the match — was rejected by the cabinet.
"Indian companies hold the rights to broadcast [matches] in South Asia .... and we cannot conduct business with any Indian company," he said.
The information minister said Pakistan would approach the England Cricket Board to try and arrive at another solution, reiterating that the country would not do business with India till it takes back the August 5, 2019, decision — when New Delhi revoked occupied Kashmir's special status.
"Normalisation of ties with India is subject to it taking back the August 5 decision," he said.
Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and PTV will indeed face considerable losses as a result of this, the information minister added.
Moving on to other matters, the minister underlined that there was indeed a need to bring improvements in Pakistan Railways — a day after the Gotki train collision that took the lives of 51 and injured more than 100 people.
"Why did PML-N invest in Orange Train instead of the railways?" he asked, shifting the blame for the state of affairs in the railways on the previous government.
The information minister said PML-N's politics is now confined to GT Road.
Then, turning his guns on the PPP, Fawad said the party thinks it can speak ill about Punjab and secure votes from Sindh. "Even the people of Sindh are sick of PPP."
The minister advised both parties to revisit their political strategy, inviting them for talks with the government once more, but at the same time reminding them that there would be no talk about their cases in court.
The minister also ruled out the possibility of any airbase of the United States in Pakistan as all such facilities were under Pakistan’s own use.
It was PTI, which after coming into power, ended "drone surveillance" facility — given to the US in the past — Fawad said.
“All the airbases are under the use of Pakistan. Right now, no negotiations in this regard are underway as Pakistan cannot give any airbase [to any country],” he said, while pointing out the policy statement given by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the Senate.
Speaking on the "premeditated truck attack" on a Muslim family in Canada, the minister condemned the terrorist act. “The West, which always blames the Muslims for extremism, should do some soul-searching as a Muslim family was ruthlessly martyred there.”
He said PM Imran Khan, time and again, had drawn the world’s attention towards Islamophobia by raising the issue vociferously at the global fora.
Unfortunately, Islamophobia had completely penetrated Western society, he added.
The minister said the cabinet members offered fateha for people who were martyred during yesterday's Ghotki train accident. The details of the inquiry would be made public.
On the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in the next general election, he said the government had presented the electoral reforms bill in the Parliament in October last year with 49 amendments in the existing election laws.
“We want legislation on these amendments in consultation with the Opposition parties so we can hold elections that would be acceptable to all,” he said.
Highlighting the importance of EVMs, the minister said it was a general observation that rigging allegations were leveled during the time gap between the end of polling and announcement of results, and the use of EVMs would help remove any loopholes in that regard.
Commenting on I-voting, the minister said giving vote rights to overseas Pakistanis was one of the top agendas of the incumbent government.
I-voting, he added, would help around eight to nine million expatriates to exercise their right to vote, who were playing a vital role in strengthening the national economy.
“Accordingly, we have presented a comprehensive report to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). Besides, the ECP has received a report on I-voting from an independent consultant.”
Fawad said the Information Ministry had also ordered the purchase of 500 EVMs for conducting the elections of press clubs and bar associations.
The minister said it was unfortunate that PML-N had filed a petition in the court against the voting right to the overseas Pakistanis, while PPP’s response over the matter was still awaited.
He said the Opposition’s narrative on inflation and economic deterioration had completely fizzled out as all the economic indicators were on an upward trajectory due to the prudent policies of PM Imran Khan.
He added some Rs1,100 billion had been given to the farmers, the GDP growth was projected at 3.9% and remittances had reached a "record" level.
Fawad said the former chairman of National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Tariq Malik had been reappointed as he was well-versed with the organisation’s functioning.
The minister said the cabinet had accorded approval to the appointment of Najib Agrawala as chairman of the First Women Bank, and Bushra Ehsan, Sabiha Sultan, Akbar Ali, Wajahat Rasool Khan, and Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi as members of its Board of Directors.
The initiative would pave the way for privatisation of the First Women Bank, he added.
The cabinet okayed the appointment of Aamir Mohiuddin, an officer of BS 20 Secretariat Group, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation.
Fawad said the cabinet okayed the re-appointment of Umer Hameed Lodhi as Managing Director of the Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan, while Naveed Ismael was appointed as a member of BoD of K-Electric.