The federal cabinet on Tuesday rejected a proposal of the Pakistan Television Corporation to liaise with an Indian company for live telecast of the upcoming Pakistan-England cricket series.
Addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting, Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said that the cabinet was requested to approve the partnership with an Indian company, which would enable the PTV to telecast the cricket series between Pakistan and England, scheduled to start from July 8, 2021.
“However, the proposal has been rejected. Pakistan cannot undertake a partnership with any Indian company and our ties with the neighbouring country are subject to India reverting its Aug 5, 2019 decision [to restore Kashmir’s previous status].
He said that Pakistan would try to explore different options, including approaching the England Cricket Board and other foreign companies to secure broadcasting rights, but [regrettably] the rights have been reserved by Indian companies in South Asia. The minister underscored that the PTV and Pakistan Cricket Board would bear financial losses due to this decision.
Speaking about other decisions taken during the meeting, Chaudhry said the cabinet had also approved handing over the Pakistan Telephone Industries Haripur to National Radio Telecommunication Corporation for revamp and restructure. He said the decision in this regard was pending since 2006.
With regards to the train accident that occurred yesterday (June 7), the minister said, "It is true that our railways system needs upgradation and it cannot be fixed in one or two years. This revamp requires long-term planning," he said, adding that instead of fixing the railways system, the previous government(s) had ‘frittered away’ Rs300 billion to launch the Orange Line train. "Likewise, all state institutions were ruined through ill-planning and incompetence of the past governments."
The federal minister said that the ML-1 project would help upgrade the entire railway network in the country.
In response to a question, he said the Federal Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati had assured of immediate action against anyone responsible once the inquiry report was furnished.
The minister further said that Justice (retd) Zia Pervez had been appointed as member of the Commission Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, while Amir Mohiuddin (BPS-20 officer) had been made chief executive officer of the Pakistan Housing Authority Foundation, he added.
'Opposition bickering like kids'
The information minister told the press conference that the government was planning to introduce internet voting facility for overseas Pakistanis, adding that “it is part of the Act currently tabled in the parliament and we want the opposition to agree to it.”
Commenting on the current political situation, Fawad Chaudhry said, “Currently, PML-N and PPP are bickering with each other like kids. We want to talk with the opposition on national matters like electoral reforms, and the way Pakistan Peoples Party opposed the government's proposal for granting voting rights to overseas Pakistanis is their viewpoint, but we are not going to accept it.”
He believed that the opposition's politics was fading away, adding that the PPP never indulged in anti-Punjab politics as Bhutto rose through the same province, “but to their disappointment, they are even losing Sindh because of their bad governance.”
He said the PML-N's narrative on PTI's alleged failure on inflation control and economy mismanagement had also failed. Still, he said, we are ready for talks with the opposition, but there would be no compromise on accountability. “This [accountability] will be looked after by courts and relevant institutions.”
With regards to the Ehsaas Programme, Chaudhru said that the government had decided to make it more effective, and digitise its data for smooth operations.
Appointment of Nadra chairman
The minister said that Tariq Malik had been appointed as the Nadra Chairman after approval from the cabinet. Shedding light on other appointments, he said Umar Habib Lodhi had been reappointed as Director Utility Stores, adding the USC was now making Rs100bn sale and it had now stepped out of the financial crisis.
Similarly, he said the cabinet had approved the appointments of the Board of Directors and Chairperson First Woman Bank. Najeeb Agrawala will be new chairperson of the bank, while Bushra Ehsan, Sabiha Sultan, Akbar Ali, Wajahat Rasool Khan and Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi will serve as its board members. He said that Naveed Ismail had also been appointed as member of the K-Electric's board.
Responding to a question about presence of US military or air bases in Pakistan, Chaudhry said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had explained the government's policy on the Senate floor in this regard and there was no possibility of the existence of American bases in Pakistan. “In fact, there is no drone surveillance either and no such discussion is afoot to give Americans space on our land.”