Opposition have no agenda for progress of country: Fawad Chaudhry


KARACHI:  Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said while addressing a press conference here at Karachi Press Club that Prime Minister Imran Khan floated the idea of neutral umpires in cricket and now he was advocating for a neutral Election Commission and such a system that would be acceptable for all. The minister said the opposition had no agenda for progress of the country nor they had any foreign policy or economic agenda.

“The unnatural alliance of opposition parties would not succeed in its agenda of protection of vested interests as they lack vision and public support,” he remarked, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan had a clear agenda for long-term growth, uplift and sovereignty of Pakistan.

The minister said economic indicators had improved, agriculture production witnessed record increase, while large-scale manufacturing revived and overseas Pakistanis sent record remittances; resultantly the GDP growth had risen to 4 percent.

Fawad Chaudhry said that Imran Khan would lead the campaign in Sindh during next general elections and next government in the province would be formed by the PTI as it was not possible for the PPP to win the elections on the basis of its performance, and it would be wiped out.

Stressing on monitoring of development budget, he said that a mechanism was in the offing for monitoring of Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) projects so that proper utilisation of funds and relief to the masses could be ensured. He said it seemed that Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was unaware of Article 140-A which required provinces to establish a local government system, convene provincial finance commission and devolve political, administrative and financial responsibility and authority to the elected representatives of the local governments so that basic issues of the masses could be resolved.

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry appealed to Supreme Court of Pakistan to ensure implementation of Article 140-A in the Sindh province.

“We do not expect that the chief minister Sindh will take any measure in this regard, due to which, we are appealing the Supreme Court of Pakistan to look into the matter and ensure implementation of Article 140-A in the province,” he said adding that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had already constituted the provincial finance commission (PFC) and the process was continuing in Punjab where PFC would be announced this year.

"Sindh's biggest enemies are currently ruling the province. Money goes out of Sindh via launches and fake accounts due to which Karachi does not get its fair share of the budget,” said Fawad Chaudhry.

He said the Sindh chief minister should step down after the recent remarks of Chief Justice of Pakistan. The minister said the PTI government had issued over Rs1,800 billion in previous two years under the NFC Award to Sindh, while Rs700-750 billion were earmarked for the province for financial year 2021-22, the minister said, adding that despite receiving such a large amount, development in Sindh and even in Karachi was not visible.

The minister said that PTI government was committed to resolve issues being faced by people in Sindh, but the PPP was creating hurdles in every positive move. He said the PTI believes in supremacy of Parliament and wants to settle all issues in the house to strengthen the democracy.

The minister said the government had introduced amendments to reform election system in the Parliament, but the opposition was convening all parties conference (APC) out of ambit of the Parliament.

“Attaching priority to elements sitting outside of Parliament would weaken the democratic system,” he opined, and stressed that the Parliament was the proper forum to deal with the matters of national importance.

Speaking on issues of journalist fraternity, Fawad informed that the PTI government was committed to provision of facilities to journalists across the country, and relevant matters were being channelised. He said a package would be introduced in PM’s Housing and Kamyab Jawan programmes for journalists, while training opportunities for their capacity building would be offered as well. He said short courses of digital media would be arranged in collaboration with press clubs.

To a question about distribution of irrigation water, Fawad said that PPP of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto was a federal political party, but incumbent leadership of PPP was restraining it to a province.

"Bilawal was accusing Punjab of water theft but when Irsa suggested monitoring of water flows at entry points, CM Murad Ali Shah ran away," he added.

Meanwhile, Fawad Chaudhry speaking as a chief guest at unveiling of Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai here that it was an auspicious opportunity to unveil the hidden treasures of Pakistan before the world.

The Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 under the theme of “Connecting minds, creating the future” and around 190 countries will participate in the expo to showcase their strongest potential to the world.

Fawad Chaudhry said that with dedicated and focused initiatives of PTI government, Pakistan was emerging at global level as a country exporting modern technological products.

He assured extensive cooperation of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to make the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo a success, and said that such international events bring the countries together to brand their products and services to attract the potential buyers.

“UAE is the second home to Pakistanis and it is expected that a large number of expatriates would visit the Expo while thousands of visitor from across the world will be there to explore the hidden treasures of Pakistan,” Fawad said.

Reacting to Fawad Chaudhry’s statement, Sindh Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said the Centre doesn’t like democracy in Sindh.

The provincial minister said the PTI would no longer exist after the 2023 elections as it will not find candidates for polls. He said the rented spokespersons will not be seen after the next polls.

Meanwhile, Sindh government spokesman Murtaza Wahab said the federal government had a liking for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief ministers because they "remain silent”. "They like 'mute' people like Usman Buzdar. They like KP CM because he remains silent,” said Wahab, at a press conference here.

The spokesman said Murad Ali Shah is not liked by the federal government as he "does not remain quiet". Murtaza Wahab also slammed the federal government for the allocations made in the PSDP. He said the T schemes for KP, Balochistan and Punjab are visible in the PSDP allocation but Sindh, "which fuels the country's economy, does not even have the allocation for a single project in the programme".

“Sindh is not given its rights (but) Sindh cannot be ignored,” said Murtaza Wahab. He regretted that the federal ministers ridicule the Sindh government for not giving any authority to the local governments. He said that the PTI government did not let any local government work across Pakistan.

“Local governments completed their terms only in Sindh,” said Murtaza Wahab. Meanwhile, the PPP rejected the electronic voting machines (EVMs), saying that it aimed at rigging next elections to install a puppet Parliament.

“The EVM is a device to rig the elections through technology, without a human face, so as to put in place a selected Parliament and to undo the 18th Amendment and the NFC Award,” said the PPP Secretary General Farhatullah Babar while addressing a party event.

Farhatullah Babar said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has also formally rejected 45 out of 72 proposed changes in the Elections Act 2017. He said that overseas Pakistanis should be integrated in the electoral process in a manner that is doable and for which legal and constitutional basis is provided.

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