LAHORE: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Sunday that propaganda about the rise in oil prices was being done as if Pakistanis lived on a separate planet away from the rest of the world.
In a tweet, he said if oil and gas prices go up in the world, Pakistan will have to readjust prices as per the new rates. The minister said that the whole country could not be run on subsidies. He said now prices were high but if oil prices fall in international market, Pakistan will also reduce oil prices. He said the nation would face difficulties together. The minister said that economic hardships were temporary and industry, agriculture and construction sectors were making historic profits.
Fawad said that the salaried class was facing problems. He urged the private sector to increase the salaries of its employees. He said increase in income and employment were best way to counter inflation.
Separately, while speaking at a get-together for senior journalists arranged by former adviser to Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Akram Chaudhry at a local hotel, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain advised the opposition parties to focus on electoral reforms and other national issues instead of raising hue and cry over non-issues.
The minister said the government wanted to bring in such electoral reforms under which the election process and results would be acceptable to all the contestants/parties.
The opposition would be contacted on matters pertaining to NAB ordinance next week, he said, adding that the amendment having consensus of both the treasury and opposition would be incorporated into the bill.
The minister said that there would be no political party except the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) that could field 800 to 900 candidates in the next general election. Fawad said the construction sector attracted Rs600 billion investments during the last one year, asserting that textile units in Faisalabad succeeded in getting orders for even the next two years i.e. 2023, adding they were booked to capacity .
In the agriculture sector, he mentioned, farmers had earned an additional income of Rs1,100 billion due to bumper crops of wheat, rice and mangoes.
The minister said the government launched three major initiatives in social and health sectors, including Sehat Insaf Card, enabling a family to get free-of-cost health facilities of up to Rs 750,000. Regarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC), he rejected the negative propaganda against this multi-national mega project and said that the private sector was also being invited to come forward and make investments in the CPEC projects.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said that Pakistan government always played its effective and positive role for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan that would guarantee peace and stability. Pakistan has been convincing the international community to play its due role keeping in view the current situation in Afghanistan, he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said economic hardships were temporary as the government was trying its best to strengthen the country's economy.
Talking to people, hailing from his constituency NA-156 here, the foreign minister said the government was well aware of difficulties and problems of the masses. Poverty alleviation is the top priority of the incumbent government, he claimed. The Ehsaas Programme, Health Card Scheme and some other policies of the incumbent government would surely help reduce poverty and provide maximum relief to the poor people, he said.
The country was heading towards industrial development, which would surely help in providing more jobs to unemployed persons besides strengthening the national economy, he added. About inflation, the foreign minister said it was due to ill-conceived policies of the previous rulers.
Criticising the opposition, Qureshi said those who chanted the slogan 'sanctity of vote', actually violated the dignity of voters.
What both the PPP and PML-N had given to voters during the last 30-years of their rule, he questioned. Qureshi said the PPP and PMLN looted the national treasury and damaged the voters economically.
The leaders of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) were making noise to conceal their corruption and avoid process of accountability, remarked Qureshi. The incumbent government, however, was committed to holding looters accountable, whether they belong to any political party or group.
Qureshi observed that the corrupt persons would have to face indiscriminate accountability process. The minister said economic diplomacy was launched to attract foreign investment.
Instructions have been issued to diplomatic missions abroad to bring the investors to Pakistan from across the globe. Pakistan is an attractive country for investment. The more foreign investment we have, the more employment opportunities there will be, he added.
Meanwhile, talking to media persons, Sheikh Rashid said the issue of inflation was connected with the changing international economic situation as no one in the government wanted inflation in the country.
He added the trend of increasing prices of petroleum, edible oil, wheat and other edible items in the international markets had repercussions.
He said the government was taking sincere steps to control inflation and making a change in the life of common man.
Also, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib on Sunday said despite the politics of conspiracies, sit-ins and long marches by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the government did not created any hurdle to stop them. Talking to a private news channel, he said, The PDM was a bunch of politically-unemployed persons who shut down powerlooms in Faisalabad in their tenures, making a large number workers jobless, while the PTI government restored the power looms and created employment opportunities.
He said although the government was trying its level best to minimise the impact of global inflation on poor people, which was directly affecting prices of various commodities, especially oil products, yet, Pakistan''s economy had witnessed growth due to prudent policies of the government. He said that petrol prices suddenly jumped from 35 dollars to 85 dollars per barrel and it was impossible for the economy of the country to bear the increase.
"However, we are trying to control the inflation on sustainable basis and in this connection, long term policies are being implemented to enhance the export with diversification", he said.
He said the price of coal had increased from 50 dollar per tonne to 250 dollars per tonne while price of edible oil had risen from 500 dollars per tonne to 1,200-1,300 dollars per tonne in the international market. At the same time, the charges for container shipping were also increased from 2,000 dollars to 8,000 to 10,000 dollars, he added.
Replying to a question, he said despite all these odds, the PTI government tried its level best to provide every possible relief to the masses. In this connection, talks were also underway with the owners of ghee mills to bring down the prices of ghee for which the government was also ready for appropriate reduction in taxes and levies, he added.
The minister said the government would soon introduce food support programme and Ehsaas Cards for 12 million poor families, that would directly subsidise on food items. Similarly, farmers were being provided Kisan Cards to get maximum food production and to meet agricultural needs by getting direct subsidies, he said and added that from November, health cards would also be issued, that would also provide up to Rs1 million annually for treatment. Farrukh Habib said the farmers had witnessed bumper sugarcane crops and that would help reduce sugar price in the country.
About the increase in power tariff, he said the government was forced to increase electricity prices as previous governments had set such a trap for the people where we had to pay electricity price whether we purchased it or not.
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