Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
December 2, 2019

Army Act: Fawad wants joint MPs' body to reach consensus

Top Story

December 2, 2019

LAHORE: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry Sunday proposed establishment of a joint parliamentary committee so that consensus can be reached on the issues of amendment to the Army Act and the economic policies.

Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, he proposed that Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa should oversee the committee. And, with the help of media, a consensus on the two matters should immediately be evolved.

He said some elements politicised the issue of extension in the tenure of the Army chief. He stressed the need for laying the foundation of a new contract among the state institutions.

Fawad Chaudhry said there should not be any confrontation among the institutions and they should work within their constitutional ambit. He said both the prime minister and the Army chief want to see the civil institutions strong.

Fawad said the chief justice of Pakistan advised the government for holding a dialogue on the issue of the extension in the army chief's service so the government decided to ponder over it.

"As a student of politics since 1993, my personal opinion is that we should have a joint parliamentary committee, which should immediately decide on two matters: Army Act amendment and the economic policy," he suggested.

"There is no doubt that the opposition role should be recognised. Without them, a wider consensus regarding institutions cannot be achieved," added the minister.

Fawad Ch, referring to the Supreme Court verdict on the extended appointment of army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, said that a good atmosphere had now been created in the country.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had always spoken of strengthening of institutions and, of course, that means that institutions should respect the authority of one another.

About the prime minister, Fawad Ch said: "I know for a fact that his heart beats with the people. He wishes to make a new Pakistan. He has no personal agenda he doesn't want to amass wealth and is not interested in power. He actually wishes to bring change." But, for that to take place, he added, "unless we bring balance in our institutions, unless we strike a fresh deal, we will remain entangled in problems."

About the future of Pakistan, the minister said political differences must be cast aside if we wish to leave a stable Pakistan for our future generations. In the same vein, he spoke of the recently held countrywide student solidarity march, which had demanded restoration of student unions. Expressing his support for the movement, the minister said the very foundation of Pakistan rests on the student unions.

Pakistan was formed due to student union activities. When the Muslim Student Federation was established in Aligarh University and later on in Islamia College, the entire movement for Pakistan was run by students.

He said whereas General Ziaul Haq, in his tenure, had made many mistakes, one of them was imposition of a ban on the student unions.

"Student unions are the backbone of any democracy. But there must be some safeguards in place. Student unions must not be allowed to be used by mainstream political parties for gang-like violent activities. Neither should we allow the unions to become a blackmailing mafia like in other places," the minister warned.

Fawad Ch said all leading institutions in the world have student unions. "We can't ban them but we can't have them engaged in hooliganism either." The science and technology minister said that the country's first space mission would be launched in 2022 for which short-listing for the astronaut would be done by the air force in February next year.

"In 2022, with the cooperation of China, our first astronaut will be launched into space," he added. The minister said in this year's budget, a 600 fold increase had been made for science and technology. By the next June, we will increase it by 1,000 times, he claimed.

He said that after a prolonged period of time, Pakistan was now re-entering the international scene for technology and research.

The minister said a ministerial committee had been formed during his last visit to China. He said a similar committee with Russia was also expected to be formed shortly after which the focus would shift to European Union and the United States. "Unless and until we have international collaboration, we cannot move forward."

He said measures were under way to promote solar energy in the country and preparation of solar panels in the country would be started very soon. He said the government was trying its utmost to introduce modern technology in the country. He said that future was of lithium batteries and the world had now switched over to powerful lithium batteries, adding that Pakistan should also have followed the suit because new innovative technologies would change the entire power distribution system within next 10 to 15 years.

He claimed that Pakistan would become the first country in South Asia manufacturing solar panels and lithium batteries which would be the basis of our advancement in the field of science and technology.

Pakistan would again be the first in South Asia introducing battery-operated buses, as two Chinese companies in Pakistan were at final stage to manufacture such buses, which would also be operated in Lahore and other major cities.

Similarly, locally manufactured battery-operated motorbikes and rickshaws would soon take over the market, he disclosed.

The minister said hybrid vehicles including rickshaws would be manufactured in Pakistan with the cooperation of China. He said "we can increase our agricultural output by utilising modern methods of farming."

He said that the vaccines of snake and dog biting would be prepared in the country rather than importing it from India and in this regard a herbal medicine plant was being grown near Jhelum on three hundred acres of land.

Fawad Chaudhry said the government was focussing on bio-technology to ensure its contribution to GDP up to four per cent and increasing its exports to US$4 billion within next 10 years. He said Pakistan could not overcome deficit through wheat, cotton and textile products alone. That was why, the government was focusing on innovating technologies in every field, he added.