Cabinet okays to hold Cantt Board elections: Fawad

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Approves review body on TLP ban; Allows special visas for Chinese working on CPEC


Asad defends economic growth figures


Staff Reporter
Islamabad

The Federal Cabinet on Tuesday decided to hold local government elections in cantonment areas across the country.

The Ministry of Defence was directed to finalize the arrangements in that regard, so date for the Cantonment Board elections could be announced, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said while briefing media persons about the decisions taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Flanked by Minister for Planning Asad Umar, the minister said for the first time in the country’s history, it was a paperless cabinet meeting. The cabinet met for record times during the three years of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.

He said since 2008, the cabinet had met for 226 times. Some 67 meetings were held during the entire tenure of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government, while the cabinet met for only 23 times from May 5, 2013 to June 30, 2016 during the regime of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which ironically claimed of honouring the sanctity of vote (Vote Ko Izzat Do).

Similarly, he said, only six meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) were held on privatization during the PPP’s tenure, 21 during the PML-N regime, and 16 in less than three years of PTI government.

Not even a single meeting of cabinet committees on institutional reforms, state-owned enterprises, China Pakistan Economic Corridor and national economic reforms was held during the PPP and PML-N governments, he added.

Fawad said one could witness the difference that out of total 720 meetings of cabinet committees since 2008, 382 were held during the PTI, 193 during the PML-N and 145 during the of PPP governments.

The minister said Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan briefed the cabinet about electoral reforms and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) was important component of the PTI’s agenda.

The cabinet has expressed its reservation over a tweet posted and subsequently deleted from the website of Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

The chief election commissioner (CEC) should clarify as to why the ECP’s page was misused and take action against those responsible for it.

“We are waiting for action by the CEC against the person involved in the issue” he added.

The minister said the journalists associations, including Parliamentary Journalists Association, different press clubs and bar associations had expressed their willingness to hold their respective elections by using the EVMs. The government would provide them all assistance on their request, he added.

He said ensuring vote right to the overseas Pakistanis was an important agenda of the PTI government. The ECP should take measures for granting the right of franchise to 8.5 million NICOP (National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis) holders.

Meanwhile, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Tuesday credited Prime Minister Imran Khan’s strategy for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for the country’s better economic performance despite earlier projections.

He made the comment during a press conference in Islamabad in which he discussed the figures recently released by the National Accounts Committee which estimated a 3.94 per cent economic growth rate this fiscal year, compared to a revised negative 0.47pc in 2019-20.

At the outset, Umar said the federal cabinet analysed the figures in its meeting today after an intense debate was witnessed over the last few days. The minister said he shared the reasons behind the growth rate with the cabinet.