ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister of Energy Khurram Dastagir Khan said on Tuesday the president was bound to follow the prime minister's advice and there was no escape from it.
In a media briefing after the federal cabinet meeting, he said "it is not possible that the president does what he likes and rejects whatever he does not." President Alvi accepted the PM's advice to remove the ex-Governor of Punjab Ch Sarwar on April 3 and now under the same article of the Constitution, he is bound to dismiss the present governor of Punjab but he chose to ignore that.
This shows, he said, the president is subverting the Constitution by not following the PM's advice. Article 6 clearly explains what will happen to those who subvert the Constitution. The federal cabinet, he said, has clearly advised that the country will be strictly governed under the law and the Constitution and the PM has no justification not to do so. The Constitution is clear on this issue, he said. The appointment of the governor is a serious issue which, he hoped, will be resolved amicably.
On the occasion, Federal Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb said a delegation, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other PMLN leaders, was visiting London on a private visit to meet Nawaz Sharif. She said the political parties carry out mutual consultations to come up with policies and mechanisms to benefit the country and its people. Aurangzeb asserted that Imran Khan Niazi was subverting the Constitution. The process to subvert the Constitution that was started on April 3 is still continuing in Punjab, she said and added the PTI was not only violating the Constitution but was also bent upon creating lawlessness and anarchy. But the PTI is a one-man show without any consultative process. The party is one man diktat. The government has directed the Ministry of Law to formulate steps to prevent the violation of the Constitution.
Earlier, the federal cabinet in its meeting with Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif in the chair approved the import of three million metric tons of wheat. Briefing the media about the decisions taken by the federal cabinet, Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb said the prime minister also directed to introduce an incentivised agricultural policy that would enable the country to curtail wheat import.
She said the cabinet also approved revocation of multiple foreign passports under the Passport Act, 1974. The cabinet decided that such passports should not only be revoked but also a strategy should be adopted to prevent it in future. Last date for the cancellation of dual foreign passport is 31 December of this year. She said till that date, all procedural and administrative arrangements will be finalised to take legal action against dual foreign passport holders.
The cabinet also decided to continue the fixed rates of flour and sugar under the Ramazan package. Under the package, a 20-kg bag of flour was reduced from 950 rupees to 800 rupees, similarly sugar was reduced from Rs85 per kg to Rs70 per kg.
In this regard, the prime minister directed to ensure its full implementation. The information minister said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has completely banned the export of sugar. She said the ban is aimed at ensuring smooth supply of sugar in the country at an affordable price. Sufficient stocks of sugar are available in the country to meet the demand till the completion of this season.
Marryium Aurangzeb said the cabinet was briefed on the prime minister's visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. She said it was informed that for the first time, a government made visit to these two brotherly countries with complete strategic partnership plan. Under this plan, through joint ventures, investments will be made in different programs.
Briefing the media on the decisions taken by the federal cabinet, the information minister said the prime minister has established a monitoring mechanism to check inflation of three essential items i.e. sugar, flour and ghee. She said the PM would soon address the nation and explain the steps his government was taking and also expose the wrongdoings committed by the PTI. She said had the PTI government done anything positive for the country, it would not have required the alleged conspiracy letter.
The PTI government, she said, neither provided any incentives to wheat farmers to grow the commodity nor provided fertiliser to them, which led to an acute shortage of wheat in the country. She said in 2018, one bag of DAP fertiliser which was being sold for Rs2,600 has now gone upto Rs10,000. Now the government will work on a plan to increase the wheat production to not only meet the requirements of the domestic market but also turn Pakistan into an exporter of the commodity. Marriyum said the wheat farmers would be given incentives for the next crop.
She said the cabinet has approved the appointment of DG IB Fawad Asadullah Khan while the resignation of Wapda Chairman Lieutenant Gen (retd) Muzamil Hussain was accepted and its additional charge was handed over to member finance. The cabinet also approved the appointment of Muhammad Massoud, member Pakistan Ordnance Factories, and Rear Adm (retd) Salman Ilyas as Director Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works. She said the cabinet was also briefed on the PM's visit to KSA. She said the government would also submit its reply to the Islamabad High Court on the issue of the appointment of Hanif Abbasi as PM's adviser.
On the other hand, Federal Minister for Energy, Khurram Dastagir Khan, said loadshedding was only being done in feeders where the bills are not being paid and, except for them, there was no loadshedding in the country. If we get Rs100 bn, then loadshedding will be curtailed in the next 5-6 months, he said. Since May 1, he insisted there was no loadshedding on feeders where line losses were less than 30pc. He said the PM had directed him to develop a new energy policy and maintain balance in loadshedding with regard to urban and rural areas. He said he has already working on these lines.
Khurram Dastagir Khan said the government had received loadshedding complaints from rural areas of Sindh, Balochistan, KPK, and southern Punjab. Dastagir said the country's total electricity generation is 22,634MW but due to mismanagement of the last government, the energy sector was seriously ignored. He said the temperatures are rising and the country would need additional power resources to reduce loadshedding.
In this regard, the energy ministry had sought the support of the PM and the cabinet. The minister said on May 31, 2018 when the PMLN government completed its term, there was zero loadshedding and in fact there was surplus power but on April 26, 2022 when he took over charge of the ministry, there was an 8-12 hour loadshedding while the existing capacity to generate 7,104 MW power was not being utilised. He said the existing power capacity of 5,800MW was not being generated because the previous government had not provided fuel for the power plants. On the other hand, 13,00MW could not be generated due to defective power plants that were ignored by the PTI government.
The minister said work was going on to generate power from green energy resources like solar, wind and hydel power, while the coal reserves from Tharparkar will also be employed to meet the offset. Dastagir hoped the country will overcome the power shortages from plants that were set up before 2018. He said the previous government delayed the 1,320MW power project under CPEC, which he now hoped will soon start working. Working of the distribution firms will also be improved. The minister said the government was trying its best to pay the arrears of the power sector by June 30.
Speaking on the occasion, Law Minister Azam Nazir Tarar said the cabinet had expressed its reservations over the recent decisions on President Dr Arif Alvi and Governor Punjab Omer Sarfraz Cheema. He said the cabinet approved the advice of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for the removal of Omer Sarfaraz Cheema from the Governor Punjab's office.
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