Fawad seeks opposition’s proposals for electoral reforms


Cabinet considers import of oxygen from China, Iran

Sharafat Kazmi

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday urged the opposition to submit their suggestion for electoral reforms to hold the next general elections through electronic voting system.

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad on Tuesday, about decisions taken by the Federal Cabinet, which met in in the federal capital with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

Fawad Chaudhry said Prime Minister s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan briefed the cabinet about electoral reforms and electronic voting machine. He said we want to move forward on electoral reforms with political consensus.

The minister said Imran Khan has written a letter to the Speaker National Assembly to engage the opposition on the subject matter.

He said the Speaker has, too, written letters to the opposition leaders for their input on electoral voting system.

He said, unfortunately, the opposition has yet not come up with its suggestions for the electoral reforms.

He said the government cannot wait for opposition s response indefinitely as it wants to hold next general elections through Electronic Voting Machines and grant overseas Pakistanis right to franchise.

Regarding latest Covid-19 situation in the country, the information minister said around 5,000 patients suffering from Coronavirus pandemic are in a critical condition, which is the highest number of Covid-19 affectees as compared to the last two peaks of the contagion.

He said currently we are producing 792 metric tons of oxygen to meet the requirement of Covid-19 patients.

He said Pakistan s situation would have not been different had it not increased 7,000 ventilator beds and doubled the production of oxygen in the country in last one year.

Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said government is also considering import of oxygen from China and Iran if need arises.

He said it has been decided that the oxygen meant for industrial sector will be diverted to the health sector if situation worsens.

Fawad Ch said PM Imran Khan has directed to ensure supply of essential items during the pandemic.

He said the government is trying hard to avoid complete lockdown and that is why it is considering announcing five days Eid Holidays this time.

Regarding anti-Covid vaccination, he said so far two million people have been vaccinated.

He said the vaccine is fully safe for human health and urged the people to get themselves vaccinated against the virus as around one billion people, across the world, have so far been immunized against the disease.

He said 3.7 million doses of Covid vaccine are available in the country and now 40 and above people are eligible for vaccination.

To control the circular debt in the power sector, the minister said previous governments produced electricity more than 50 percent of country s needs.

He said the government is compelled to pay capacity charges which have reached to around 900 billion rupees even if it does not buy electricity from the power plants.

He said Imran Khan has directed to resolve this issue without increasing electricity tariff.

He said government owned insufficient power plants can be closed to avoid these charges.

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