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Thursday December 02, 2021

Joint sitting to legislate on EVMs: Over 10m jobs already provided, says Fawad Chaudhry

October 06, 2021
Joint sitting to legislate on EVMs: Over 10m jobs already provided, says Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday claimed that over 10 million jobs had already been given to people during the last three years of the PTI government.

Briefing the media about the cabinet meeting held on Tuesday and replying to the media persons’ questions, he said more than 1.65 million people got employment abroad due to the government policies and hundreds of thousands were employed in construction and textile sectors.

The minister said the federal cabinet discussed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the next elections, and it was decided to move towards legislation in the Parliament’s joint session. He said it was also decided that talks with the opposition on electoral reforms would also continue.

The cabinet meeting, presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, was briefed by the law minister that efforts had been made to hold talks with the opposition on the EVMs, but no effective response had been received thus far. The minister said, “Our goal is to make the elections transparent. Everyone believes that if the system needs to be reformed, then we must move forward.

“I will ask the opposition to do this through serious dialogue, in addition to crying at their meetings.” Regarding the fresh population census, he said modern technology would be used in the new census: when people are counted, curfew is imposed at the same time to ascertain who is living where; people are sent a questionnaire to ask them where they were living; if they had been living at their place for more than six months, and if they would continue staying there for the next six months.

He explained that the cabinet decided to proceed according to a set procedure. The census would use the latest technology, including tablets, with the help of NADRA [National Database and Registration Authority] and other agencies and once the census was complete, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would be notified for new constituencies.

About appointment of new NAB chairman, the minister said on Wednesday, an ordinance was being brought to do away with a legal lacuna with reference to consultation on new NAB chairman, in case the Leader of the House or Opposition face NAB case(s).

The government, he noted, had decided that Eid Miladun Nabi would be celebrated as the Rahmatul-lil-Alameen Ashra from the 3rd of Rabiul-Awwal to 13th of Rabiul-Awwal at the official level and events would be organised in that regard. He added that on the occasion of Eid Miladun-Nabi, the government had also decided to reduce the sentences of prisoners.

Fawad said the cabinet was briefed on the issue of Pandora Papers. The names of over 700 Pakistanis are included in it, out of which 3 to 4 categories have been established, one of which is the declared offshore company, second undisclosed offshore company and the third offshore company to resort to money laundering.

He said that the PM’s Inspection Cell would initially investigate all of them separately and then the agencies would take similar action against them. The minister noted that a ministerial committee, consisting of Fawad, Hammad Azhar and Murad Saeed, would review the past rulers’ contracts of power and roads with reference to the high rates and who benefited by awarding these contracts. The committee would submit its report to the cabinet.

He said Special Assistant for Health Dr Faisal Sultan briefed the cabinet that doctors were part of a profession in which they could not take any risk and the standard for a doctor's degree should be high. The minister said that Pakistani doctors were respected in the world, but some had refused to accept the degrees issued by Pak medical colleges. Now the formula for the new MDCAT was in line with the world standards, he added.

The minister explained that 200,000 people appeared for the exams while the total number of seats was only 20,000. Competition had increased in the country and that would improve the quality of our medicine profession. He said that young doctors were protesting against the test for licence; that test was done all over the world; however, it was not right thing to protest against that their quality should not be tested. He said, “We do not want our doctors not to be recognised internationally”.

Fawad said that the Ministry of Energy had sent a proposal to NEPRA that consumers who switch on electricity by turning off gas heaters in winter would be given relief of up to Rs7 per unit. He explained that ‘thanks’ to the previous governments, Pakistan had more electricity and less gas, so the government wanted more electricity sales and less gas consumption.