ISLAMABAD: Federal Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has said that 23 million people in Afghanistan are suffering from malnutrition and that eight children have died from lack of food so far. The federal cabinet has decided to send large quantities of wheat and rice to Afghanistan and to abolish taxation on all Afghan imports.
The minister said in a media briefing following the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan that the planned march of the Pakistani Democratic Movement was a winter activity, claiming that they would have to wait until the 2023 elections and then five years.
Fawad said a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would be held in Islamabad next month calling on Muslim countries to resolve Afghanistan’s food problems.
“We have already raised our concerns to the world, but we will now take all possible steps that are -propriate for the Afghan people.
The minister added that there are extremely dis -pointing reports from Afghanistan that children are being sold for food. The minister warned that if Afghanistan were not saved from the food crisis, the situation would get incredibly worse, and they had raised their concerns at all forums and levels.
He said the cabinet had decided that the country would send enough wheat and rice to Afghanistan to save its people from starvation in winter. “Measures are being taken to relieve the pressure on exports from Afghanistan. We have cut all taxes on exports from Afghanistan, ”he added.
In the next few days, Pakistan will also speak to the Afghan delegation visiting Pakistan about the humanitarian tragedy.
He said that due to the freezing of Afghan assets, a humanitarian disaster was brewing and they were not receiving foreign aid, which has ruined the Afghan economy. He said: “We do not recognize the Afghan government.”
When asked, the minister replied that the opposition had done their best in the past two years to overthrow the government, but the government had shown itself to be strong, now there were two years left in the incumbent government and the opposition should have another one and a half or two years wait years. “And after that they would have had to wait another five years. The reason for this is that PDM is a platform of parties with different ideologies that have no program or leader, ”he noted.
Addressing the opposition, he stressed that “you cannot be successful by hatching conspiracies. I give you some advice to learn to stand on your own two feet first, because conspiracies have neither made it, nor will you in the future.
When asked for his comment on reports that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif might return in December, he noted why he shouldn’t make a comeback this month instead. “We want him to honor every commitment Shehbaz Sharif has made to bring him back. PDM holds a march every year. Now they have started crying again, ”he claimed. He added that it wasn’t the decade of the 1990s when the opposition consistently cracked down on the government. Optimistically, the minister said that the agitation created by the opposition would subside as the price hike issue would calm down within two to three months.
In view of rising world market prices for gas and RLNG and to curb illegal gas consumption, the federal cabinet increased the gas price for group-owned power plants from 6.5 to 9 per MMBTU. He added that prices will be in effect from November 15, 2021 through March 31, 2022, that increase has nothing to do with domestic consumers. He said the power plants would be supplied with gas at higher prices for six months.
Oil and gas prices are linked to the international market and the country will not rise if we continue to subsidize various raw materials to a certain segment of the population, ”he added.
The minister said the role of the media is controversial as anything that comes up is overstated three times and it harms the country. “Again, this is an issue that will be dealt with very soon,” he noted.
He said that in order to promote local tourism, rental of PTDC properties in Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the private sector has been transparently -proved. Fawad said that the federal cabinet has decided that the same project will be carried out for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, currently the tourism trend is spreading very quickly.
The minister said that PTDC land rental in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab has been -proved while Balochistan will make a final decision and inform. He added that they wanted to give PTDC’s land to the provinces so that they could lease it themselves, and this is the offer we made to the Sindh government.
The cabinet -proved in principle the Securities and Derivatives Market Act 2021. The forum -proved the transfer of ownership, employees and liabilities of PTDC in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to the respective provinces.
When asked about the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), he replied that the dialogue with the banned organization was constitutional, so all warring groups had to respect the constitution of Pakistan. “All Pakistanis are in the TTP and the state wants to give them a chance. If they show their loyalty to Pakistan, we will definitely give them a chance. At this point, Pakistan should speak to the TTP with a strong position, we believe that Afghanistan has asked us to negotiate with the warring group, the TTP has good ideas about Pakistan. Afghanistan’s new leadership wants peace in Pakistan, ”he said. He said locals and war victims would also be included in the talks.
Fawad said the prime minister had directed to ensure the presence of cabinet members and party members in the national assembly to pass important laws and provide responses. He said CEO and MD vacancies at the Department of Science and Technology and National Food Security have been reviewed. He said there were also five vacancies in the Ministry of Security and that both ministries had been instructed to take steps to fill those positions as soon as possible.
He said the federal cabinet has agreed to be included on the mandatory list of Pakistani standards and quality in order to preserve the quality of locally made fans. He added that the production of quality fans would help to reduce electricity consumption and so the locally made springs could be sold on the world market. It was decided to set up the 911 emergency number in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and Information, after which all other emergency numbers will be merged into 911.
In order to increase exports, the Ministry of Commerce has recommended the adoption of the Strategic Framework for Trade Policy 25-2020. Given the state of emergency on the World Food Program, it was recommended that flour be exported to Afghanistan.
The Cabinet also -proved the -pointment of Dr. Saifuddin Junejo as chairman of the Export Processing Zones Authority. Cabinet -proved the -pointment of the Director General of the Pakistani Maritime Security Agency. The cabinet also -proved the 2010 Afghan-Pakistani transit trade agreement being extended by six months to improve trade relations with Afghanistan.