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Wednesday August 17, 2022

Inflation major issue, poor in agony: Shaukat Tarin

Tarin said all taxes on petrol had been abolished and that all benefits from the reduction in oil prices would be transferred to people

November 27, 2021

KARACHI/ ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin Friday said Pakistan’s major issue was inflation and not poverty, and that the poor people were suffering the most.

Talking to the media in Karachi, Tarin said “our problem is with the lower middle class because they are being exploited." 

"Our problem is not of poverty, but of inflation," he said, adding that according to the World Bank (WB), poverty in the country had decreased by 1%.

He said all taxes on petrol had been abolished and that all benefits from the reduction in oil prices would be transferred to people. Tarin said: "The real effective exchange rate should be close to 165, 166. Our money is undervalued by Rs10," he said, adding that there were rumours that lockers would be seized, but no such thing would happen.

Inflation in the United States has reached 9pc and the US has taken action on the price of oil, which is coming down, he said. The finance adviser said the government would not allow any increase in taxes, and that no new taxes would be imposed. "Only tax exemptions will be abolished and all taxes on petrol have also been abolished. All the benefits of reduction in oil prices will be passed on to people," he said.

About the Pak Rupee, Tarin urged people not to pay heed to rumours. "The value of the rupee will not decrease," he assured, warning those who are thinking that they will earn from the dollar, will be hit hard when the value of the dollar comes down.

These speculators will be shocked when the value of the dollar decreases, he commented. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan raised questions about PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s official capacity for deciding on releasing or stopping advertisements to private television channels in the past. He said the PMLN tried to create a division in the media. “In what capacity was Maryam Nawaz running the government media cell?” he asked while chairing a meeting of the PTI leaders in Islamabad on Friday.

The premier observed that PML-N leaders called the members of the ruling party “fascists” while they themselves were more than that. “They accuse us of trying to curb the media while they themselves stood exposed now,” he added.

Sources said Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry briefed the premier on the progress of the committee formed to investigate Maryam’s admission as well as the action taken on the matter so far.

The prime minister also blamed the Sindh government for wheat flour and fertiliser crises, saying that the provincial government took no action against hoarders, causing shortage of these commodities in the country.

He was addressing a meeting called here to review the progress on Sindh Development Plan. He noted that the rates were highest in Karachi and the Sindh government was responsible for it. Federal Ministers Dr Fehmida Mirza, Asad Umar and Hammad Azhar were also present. The PM also ordered to complete Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway at the earliest.

PM Khan said priority must be given to less developed areas of Sindh to bring prosperity in rural areas. He presided over a meeting to review implementation of Rs444 billion Sindh Development Plan (SDP). The meeting was informed that overall the Sindh Development Plan comprises 48 PSDP projects, 50 non-PSDP projects and seven public private partnership (PPP) projects. Twenty-six new PSDP projects have been approved and financial resources allocated for FY2021-22.

An amount of Rs16.304 billion has been authorised by the Planning Commission for eight federal government divisions and organisations. The Sindh Development Plan includes projects related to roads and motorways, housing, IT & Telecom, water resources, health, higher education, vocational training, disaster management, railways, energy and establishment of sports facilities.

The PM said aim of the Sindh Development Plan was to uplift the socioeconomic status of residents of 14 priority districts of Sindh. “Unfortunately, no attention was accorded to these districts in the past,” he added.

The PM directed the departments concerned to fast-track work on construction of sports complexes in Badin, Ghotki, Thar, Mirpur Khas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Hyderabad and Sanghar. He also ordered for ensuring transparency, quality of work and adherence to timelines while implementing Sindh Development Plan.

Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed political issues and development projects in constituencies with Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) and provincial legislators.

MNAs Ms Zill-e-Huma, Ms Azmi Riaz, Ms Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Dr Noshin Hamid, Punjab Minister for Culture Khayal Ahmad Castro, Punjab Minister for Labour Ansar Majeed Khan, Members of Provincial Assembly from Punjab Ahsan Saleem Baryal, Jalil Ahmed Sharqpuri, Hamid Yar Hiraj, Chaudhry Ijaz Sultan Bandisha, Farooq Amanullah Dareshk, Sindh Provincial Assembly Members Malik Shehzad Awan, Jamal Ahmed Siddiqui, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly members Deedar Khan, Muhammad Abdul Salam and Bilawal Afridi and party members Azeem Lakhawi, Dr Nadia, Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, Muhammad Saleem Baryar and Qaiser Baryar met PM Imran here.

Senator Saifullah Niazi, MNA Amir Mahmood Kayani and Malik Amir Dogar were also present. The meeting held discussions on political issues and development projects in various constituencies.

Meanwhile, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev called Prime Minister Imran Khan and the two leaders expressed satisfaction at the pace and momentum of bilateral relations.

The PM underlined the importance of realising full potential in diverse areas to achieve common goals and objectives. He underscored the need for enhancing bilateral economic relations through early conclusion of a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). He also reiterated Pakistan’s strong commitment to timely completion of Trans-Afghan railway project.

Prime Minister Imran Khan hoped that peace and stability in Afghanistan would help advance connectivity agenda leading to regional prosperity.

The Uzbek president accepted the PM’s invitation to visit Pakistan, which would further boost existing bilateral cooperation in various fields including economic and trade relations between the two countries.

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Commercial use of military land will be stopped: secy defence

By Jamal Khurshid

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday directed the secretary defence to submit the modus operandi and strategy to revert the cantonment lands used for commercial and residential purposes in respective cantonment boards. The court directed the secretary defence to submit the statement of armed forces heads with regard to ban on conversion of cantonment boards lands for commercial or residential purposes.

The direction came during the hearing of petitions with regard to removal of encroachments from public parks and playgrounds in the city.

The secretary defence submitted that heads of armed forces had already stopped conversion of cantonment board lands into private lands and construction of housing societies and commercial use of military land would be checked and stopped.

The court had earlier taken a serious exception to conversion of cantonment boards lands for private and commercial purposes in the city and observed that the land allotted for defence and strategic purposes could not be converted for housing societies.

The SC’s three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed, inquired from secretary defence Lt. General (retd) Mian Mohammad Hilal Hussain with regard to conversion of cantonment board lands, meant for defence and strategic purposes, for private purposes of housing and commercial activities.

The court observed that conversion of the cantonment boards lands for private purposes was contrary to the cantonment boards Act and its land administration rules as the land allocated for COD and airport purposes could not be allowed for running marriage halls. The court observed that commercial activities were being carried out at cantonment boards after conversion of land.

The CJP observed that sometimes, it becomes a mockery of the institution when residential schemes and high rise buildings are constructed on cantonment lands, questioning as what defence and strategic significance was left after conversion of cantonment boards lands for private purposes. The court observed that all Askari housing projects had been built on cantonment lands. The court observed that cantonment boards have to be used for strategic purposes and all such conversions have to be reverted as such policies are contrary to the cantonment boards laws. The court observed that cantonment board lands given to the Navy have been converted, raising high-rise buildings, whereas commercial activities have been carried out at the PAF Base Faisal and PAF Base Masroor.

The court inquired from the defence secretary how the cantonment boards could roll back such conversion of lands observing that major and colonel ranking officers had become kings of the area and they do not comply with the orders of the court and do whatever they want. The court directed the secretary defence to issue directions to the cantonment boards that conversion of lands had been prohibited in the cantonment boards area.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan inquired from secretary defence that ban on future conversion of land was one aspect but the court wanted to know as what would be the strategy and modus operandi to revert the conversion of land to its original plan. The court observed that the Ministry of Defence has to circulate the decision of the armed forces heads that change of land use cannot be done and directed the secretary defence to submit the statement of armed forces heads with regard to such ban on conversion, which will be examined on the next date of hearing. The court directed the secretary defence to submit the statement on reverting the conversion of cantonment board lands to its original position and adjourned the hearing till Tuesday. 

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