Nawaz trying to destabilise country: Shibli

Cabinet reduces prices of 94 lifesaving drugs

ISLAMABAD - Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Tuesday said the enemies were trying to damage Pakistan and its institutions, including the armed forces, by fomenting chaos and confusion. While addressing a press conference about the decisions of the weekly cabinet meeting, he said Nawaz Sharif was a three time prime minister but now he was talking against institutions like the Election Commission and the courts to destabilise the country.

To a question, he said the government was not concerned about the All Parties Conference (APC) of the opposition. “We did not create hurdles in the holding of APC,” he said, adding Nawaz Sharif was now healthy and strong, and made the speech in London. He was a proclaimed offender and was involved in money laundering and corruption, he added.

The minister said the opposition tried to blackmail the government on the legislation related to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and when it failed Nawaz Sharif in a final attempt made the speech.

To a question, he said debate on religious issues should be avoided as the people were sensitive about them. Shibli Faraz said Prime Minister Imran Khan was of clear view that strict punishments should be handed to rape offenders. The discussion was held on making laws against rape according to Islam to punish criminals involved in the heinous act.

Adviser to the Prime Minister Shehzad Akbar, he said, would come up with a law to effectively stop the crime of rape, ensure punishment, protect identity of the victim(s) and undertake use of the latest technology, he explained.

There were loopholes in the law against rape which made it difficult to give punishment to the accused, he added. The incidents of rape were on the rise and the media was also reporting more cases.

The minister said for the prime minister, the energy sector and tax collection were priority issues.

Different presentations were given to the cabinet on the energy sector and purchase of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) by power plants, he said, adding negotiations were undertaken for the privatization of regasified liquefied natural gas (RLNG) based power plants.

The minister said the circular debt had risen to Rs 2.1 trillion and different sectors of economy suffered due to it. He said the electricity prices rose due to the agreements done by the past governments.

Serious and practical negotiations were held with power companies to review the agreements and give relief to the electricity consumers, he added.

He said briefings would be given to the media on the issues of power projects and reasons for the current energy prices in coming days.

Shibli said the cabinet endorsed the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee on wheat import and import of cars for the disabled persons during its meetings held on September 9 and 16.

The minister said the prime minister believed in balanced development and steps would be taken for the provincial finance commission awards.

The previous government generated electricity but neglected the issues related to distribution, transmission, line losses and expensive energy, he observed. The previous government did not pass on the cost of electricity to the consumers to avoid its political cost, he added.

However, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government paid the political cost by regularising the power sector and making recoveries in areas beset with electricity theft.

To a question, he clarified that Shehbaz Gill was the spokesman of prime minister and assured that the flow of information to media men would be made smooth.

Shibli said the economy was getting revived and more relief would be given to the public. He said in two years, the PTI government held 50 cabinet meetings and 700 cabinet committee meetings. Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan told the media that the Health Ministry reduced the prices of coronavirus disease drug from Rs 10,000 to Rs 8,400.

The prices of 94 life saving drugs were rationalized under the 2018 Drug Pricing Policy to avoid shortages and smuggling, and to maintain quality, he noted. He said no employee of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council would be removed from his job.

The government was analysing the situation regarding the coronavirus in the provinces and cities regularly, he added. “We will continue to monitor the coronavirus spread and so far the situation is stable.”

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