ISLAMABAD: Hours after the Islamabad High Court directed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to ‘surrender’ by Sept 10, the federal cabinet on Tuesday asked the PML-N supreme leader to abide by the court orders and face justice.
Replying to a question at a press conference held after the cabinet meeting, Information Minister Shibli Faraz said Nawaz Sharif should return to the country, appear before the court and answer its questions.
“If a person, who has remained the country’s prime minister three times, considers himself above law, then this is something the citizens of Pakistan need to think about,” he added.
The minister said Nawaz Sharif’s health seemed alright as was evident from his photographs uploaded on social media where he was seen walking and taking tea in London. He claimed that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was faced with divisions as several groups had emerged within the party.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to visit Karachi on Friday where he will announce a development package for the country’s commercial hub.
Shibli Faraz says CPEC in Pakistan’s interest; PM to announce package for Karachi during his visit
Presiding over the cabinet meeting, the prime minister said the Centre would provide all possible assistance to overcome the problems being faced by the people of Karachi.
At the press conference, Shibli Faraz said the prime minister would announce a major development package for Karachi.
Responding to a query about the appointment of a new mayor in Karachi, the minister said the federal government had presented names for the slot, but the final decision rested with the Sindh government. He said the situation in Karachi was known to everyone and the prime minister wanted to address its problems.
Mr Faraz refused to comment on the new book of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed. “I have not read it so far,” he said.
About the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Mr Faraz said it was the people’s project which the PML-N had claimed as its own. “China does not work with a political party, but the government,” he said, adding that the country’s prosperity was linked to the CPEC.
“Every country takes a decision on the basis of its national interest and CPEC is in the interest of Pakistan. We will safeguard it,” he added.
Responding to a question about the assets of Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the minister said he [Mr Bajwa] would come on media soon and clarify his position. He said Mr Bajwa had attended the cabinet meeting.
The cabinet took a number of important decisions during the meeting. It decided to launch the second phase of the Ehsaas Covid Relief Programme as the prime minister desired to provide more financial assistance to the deserving people.
According to a press release issued by the Prime Minister Office, PM Khan expressed satisfaction over the economic situation, as despite an adverse impact of Covid-19, all economic indicators were showing an upward trend. He said that because of torrential rains in the country, the government had decided not to increase prices of petroleum products.
“The government is bearing Rs17 billion subsidy being given to people on petroleum products,” the prime minister said.
The cabinet was also briefed on sugar and wheat/flour prices.
On the recommendations of a special committee on prisoners, especially women, the prime minister directed that the consultation process with the Attorney General of Pakistan be completed so that prompt implementation could be made to provide relief to prisoners.
The cabinet also approved proposed amendments to laws under which legislators, including senators, would have to take oath of their office within 60 days from their elections.
Regarding the construction of high-rise buildings in the vicinity of airports in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar, the cabinet decided that there would be no need for NOC or permission to build 500-foot high buildings within 15km radius of the airports.
For outsourcing the management of major airports, the meeting formed a committee headed by Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan.
On the issue of illegal appointments in the past, a comprehensive report was presented before the cabinet which revealed that 500 employees were inducted in the Airport Security Force illegally.
The cabinet gave approval to the terms of reference for investment of funds of the Federal Employees Benevolent and Group Insurance Fund.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2020