Cabinet backs PM, sees his family on media hit list
Shoaib A Raja
ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the allegations of corruption on the prime ministerí s family, the federal cabinet on Wednesday expressed solidarity with Yusuf Raza Gilani on the reports published and broadcast in the media regarding his son Ali Musa Gilani.
Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said that the family of the prime minister was on the hit list of different channels and print media for the last few days and urged the media to play a positive role and also publish the news regarding the previous baseless allegations levelled against the son of Prime Minister Gilani in which he was acquitted from all allegations.
She said that the secretary narcotics briefed the cabinet on the quota issued and there was no involvement of Ali Musa Gilani and Principal Secretary to the PM in the matter. She further said that till the court verdict, the media trial must be stopped as it was damaging the premierís family.
She said in the initial investigations and then in the interim challan, neither Ali Musa Gilani nor the PMís principal secretary was involved in giving quota and details in this regard would be provided in the court soon.
To a query regarding the statement of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif in which he had demanded fresh elections, she said the N-League should hold the local bodies elections if it wanted to check its muscle, adding that the elections would be held on its time.
Dr Firdous said in 1999, when General Musharraf had toppled the Nawaz Sharifregime, he gave a charge sheet on the corruption of their government and Mian Sahib, instead of facing these allegations, left the country while the PPP leadership faced all the allegations for more than a decade. She said it was very easy to level charges against anyone but being the elder brother, the Punjab should also step forward to share the responsibilities with the federal government.
To a question regarding the Energy Conference, she said it was a very fruitful conference which promoted unity and now it was the duty of all the provinces to ensure implementation of the decisions taken in the conference.
Commenting on the statement of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on not welcoming the president, she said the president was representing the federation and if he did not believe in the federation, it meant he did not believe in the Constitution.
About President Zardari’s visit to India, she said it was a private visit without any structured agenda and the Indian prime minister gave him a very good gesture by inviting him to a dinner. “We don’t think that it was bypassing the parliamentary system but we believe that this visit will bring fruitful results in the future as we believe that regional coordination is very healthy for the country,” she added. She further said that before leaving for India, the president had a meeting with the army chief and foreign minister, which reflected that he had their mandate in this regard.
She said it was the first time in the history of Pakistan that parliament was making foreign policy and every party sitting in parliament had to participate according to its own belief. ìNow people will see how the faces of different political parties in parliament would be exposed,î she added.
She said that the cabinet prayed for the early recovery of Army officers, Jawans and civilians trapped under snow in the Gayari sector at Siachen. “The prime minister directed that all efforts should be made for early recovery and evacuation of the trapped officials,” she added.
She further said that the cabinet discussed at length the budget strategy paper for the period 2012-13 and projections till 2014-15. “The strategy paper aims at accelerating the growth while ensuring the macro-economic stability and articulates guiding principles for the annual budget in order to achieve targets over the medium term,î she said, adding: ìThe prime minister said the budget will be prepared in the light of recommendations made by the peopleís representatives and an exclusive meeting of the cabinet should be convened to discuss the budget related matters soon.î
Dr Firdous said that the cabinet reviewed the implementation status of its decisions pertaining to religious affairs, revenue and science & technology research divisions. The cabinet was informed that 87%, 79% and 78% decisions pertaining to religious affairs, revenue and science and technology research divisions respectively had been implemented. The remaining cabinet decisions pertaining to these divisions are in the process of implementation.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for confirmation of the decisions taken by the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) in its meeting held on March 2. The secretary cabinet briefed the cabinet on the Citizens Damage Compensation Programme (CDCP) going on in the 2010 flood-affected areas.
Prime Minister Gilani directed Nadra and all concerned departments to expedite the process of distributing the Watan Cards among the flood affected people of Balochistan and Sindh. In this regard, he directed all stakeholders and provincial authorities to sort out the matter at the earliest.
The secretary finance briefed the cabinet on the Consumer Price Index till 5th April, 2012, in the country. He informed the cabinet that prices of 28 items in the CPI had increased during the last week. However, the prices of 16 items had decreased and prices of 15 items remained stable.
The cabinet considered and accorded its ex-post facto approval to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding the Offer of Credit Line of $200 million to Sri Lanka. An MoU in this regard was signed during the visit of the president of Sri Lanka to Pakistan on February 11, 2012.
The cabinet considered and gave its approval for permission, in principle, to start negotiations with the government of South Africa to have an agreement with a view to match the demands and offers of jobs in various economic sectors of South Africa. The Ministry of Human Resource Development has prepared a draft MoU for export of manpower from Pakistan to South Africa.
The cabinet also gave its approval for initiating negotiations on the draft agreement between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on cooperation in combating illicit traffic of narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
The cabinet approved initiating negotiations on the draft agreement between the Sultanate of Oman and Ministry of Narcotics Control on cooperation in combating illicit traffic of narcotics drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
The cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval for signing and approval for ratification of the agreement on cooperation to combat narcotic drugs trafficking, psychotropic substances and precursors between Pakistan and Italy.
The cabinet also approved initiating negotiations on the draft agreement between the State Drug Control Service, governments of the Kyrgyzstan and Ministry of Narcotics Control on cooperation in the fight against illicit traffic in drugs.
The cabinet also gave its approval for ratification of the agreement in the field of Auqaf and Islamic Affairs between the governments of state of Qatar and Pakistan. The purpose of the agreement is to enhance cooperation between the two friendly countries and the development of excellent relations between them, and desiring to promote and enhance the prospects of cooperation, and to achieve integration in the field of Islamic affairs, to serve the cultural exchange and experience in preaching, guidance, revival of the Islamic heritage and invest endowment and Zakat.