Tuesday Jan 18, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said the Opposition was only focused on hatching conspiracies against the government despite the latter’s constant efforts to engage them on major system reforms.
“We want to engage the Opposition on electoral and judicial reforms, and the process for appointment of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman, but the reforms are not the priority of Opposition leaders,” the minister said while speaking to journalists after the Federal Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Fawad, who was flanked by Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, said the government, as well as the National Assembly speaker, had invited the Opposition on negotiating those three issues, but, unfortunately, their leaders only wanted to topple the government.
From the very first day, he said, they (Opposition leaders) desired that they would succeed in removing the current government after six months, and they were still yearning for that. They had already passed four years with such illusions, and the next five to six years seemed to be not any different for them.
Regarding PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz's criticism of the government, Fawad said that "even children do not take her remarks seriously."
The minister revealed that during the cabinet meeting, the premier was briefed about the COVID-19 situation in the country.
"The meeting was informed that daily cases had reached over 5,000 with rising in hospital admissions, including 20% increase in ICU cases," he said.
The minister added that vaccination was vital for everyone as those, who had gotten two jabs, were safer against the Omicron variant than the unvaccinated.
"Unfortunately, Sindh is lagging behind in the vaccination process, as its capital Karachi, has become the most-affected city of the country in terms of the cases of the new variant," he said.
Schoolgoing children were the major victims, he said, adding that the government had spent $2 billion on the import of vaccines.
On the other hand, Hammad Azhar refuted rumours about risking the State Bank of Pakistan's (SBP) autonomy in the light of the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 passed by the National Assembly and said that the government still holds the power to appoint the bank's governor.
He said that the federal government has the authority to appoint the central bank's governor, deputy governors, as well as its board of directors.
"The bank's board has the authority to remove the governor," the energy minister said, adding that the government has devised a comprehensive strategy about SBP, therefore, all its assets will remain in possession of the government.
Shedding light on the shortage of gas in Karachi, the energy minister said that from the last one-and-a-half month, gas supply to industries has been suspended so as to meet the demands of the domestic sector.
Azhar further said that the general industries have sought a stay order from Sindh High Court regarding the suspension of gas, adding that, “hopefully, the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) will present its case and the court will suspend the stay order."
— Thumbnail image: APP