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Tuesday February 07, 2023

Cabinet approves auction of Pak building in US

Marriyum Aurangzeb said there was no food security threat in the country, as two per cent more wheat stock was available in the country compared to the previous year

By APP
December 01, 2022
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press briefing on November 30, 2022. PID
Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing a press briefing on November 30, 2022. PID 

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Wednesday there was no food security threat in the country, as two per cent more wheat stock was available in the country compared to the previous year.

She was addressing a news conference here to brief the media about the decisions taken by the federal cabinet with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair.

The cabinet, she said, was given a detailed briefing by the Ministry of Food Security and Research on the demand and supply situation of wheat in the country. She said the cabinet was informed that despite unprecedented floods in the country, sufficient wheat stock was available due to efficient planning and steps were taken by the federal government to ensure availability of wheat and other edible crops in all parts of the country.

Marriyum said the cabinet also appreciated the efforts of Food Security Minister Tariq Bashir Cheema, and his staff for ensuring availability of wheat and other edibles despite heavy floods during the summer.

Marriyum said the cabinet gave approval to a proposal of auctioning one of the two buildings in Washington, owned by the Pakistan Embassy. She said in 2010, the-then prime minister gave approval for renovation of these two buildings. The renovation of one of the buildings was completed but only 60 per cent work could be completed on the other building.

The minister said the US government had revoked the diplomatic status of the building and so far the government had paid $819,000 as tax. She said after 2019, $1.3 million tax had been paid on the building without any use.

As the building was not suitable for use due to incomplete renovation and the end of its diplomatic status, the cabinet approved the proposal to auction the building in a transparent manner.

She said in the past, $4.5 million bid was given, but now a bid of $6.9 million has been given, which was $2.3 million higher than the previous one. If Pakistan did not auction the said building, the United States would itself auction it.

The minister said the coalition government was committed to resolving people’s issues and ensuring their well-being. “Our entire focus is on carrying out rehabilitation and reconstruction phase in the flood-affected areas and reversing the damage caused by Imran Khan to the country at internal and external fronts while being in power for four years,” she said.

Marriyum said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was working tirelessly to restore the image of the country at the international level through effective diplomacy. She asked Imran Khan to stop the drama of Haqeeqi Azadi and give answers about the economic mess created by him during the last four years.

To another query, she said Imran Khan launched the long march to topple the current government, but ended it with the announcement of dissolving his own governments in different provinces. “We are ready for every kind of eventuality and will compete with him (Imran) in a befitting way,” she added.

People needed to understand that “inflation and terrorism were outcomes of the (mis)governance of the Imran-led government”, she said, adding that terrorism was completely rooted out during the previous tenure of Nawaz Sharif.

To another query, she said unfortunately, propaganda was spread over the issue of broadcast rights of the FIFA world cup for PTV Sports. The inquiry over the matter was completed and details would be shared with the media soon. The minister said during the past few months, the government was in talks with FIFA management and hopefully PTV would telecast the matches of the World Cup live.

At the outset of briefing, Marriyum said the prime minister had not accepted the resignation of Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazir Tarar and he was requested by the cabinet colleagues to withdraw his resignation. The whole cabinet appreciated the competence and efficiency of Azam Nazir Tarar as law minister and also lauded Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who looked after the Ministry of Law and Justice during his absence.

The minister said the cabinet strongly condemned the Buleli suicide attack near Quetta and offered Fateha for those who were martyred in the attack and prayed for early recovery of the injured. The cabinet lauded the services of all stakeholders, especially polio workers across the country to make Pakistan a polio-free country.

Marriyum said that regarding the Bhara Kahu Bypass issue, the Islamabad High Court directives had been implemented. The ministerial committee, headed by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, listened to proposals of all stakeholders and succeeded in building a consensus on the issue. She said the committee presented its proposals in the meeting which were approved by the cabinet and would be presented in the IHC

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