ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday said the federal cabinet has decided to file a case against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) President Shehbaz Sharif for giving a fake affidavit for return of his elder brother Nawaz Sharif after treatment.
Nawaz Sharif went abroad through fraud and his activities in London are mockery of the state of Pakistan and its laws, Fawad said in a news conference after the federal cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said it was the decision of the federal cabinet to allow Nawaz Sharif to go abroad, subject to submission of a surety bond worth Rs7 billion but his younger brother approached the court and submitted a personal guarantee which ensured the former’s departure from the country.
The minister said Nawaz Sharif did not undergo any treatment in London despite passage of some 17 months. It clearly showed his mala-fide intent of going abroad to evade accountability, he said, adding the medical reports of Nawaz Sharif sent to the Punjab government from London did not match to the previous reports which were rejected by the Punjab government. The drama of Nawaz Sharif’s health was a total concoction and not based on his real illness, he added.
He said the Sharif family was contacted twice by the Pakistani Embassy in the UK on the orders of the High Court, but they refused to provide any report. Nawaz Sharif’s medical reports had to be shared with the Pakistan Embassy doctors, he added.
He said such tactics by the Sharif family proved that Shehbaz Sharif was fully involved in the fraud of sending Nawaz Sharif abroad on the pretext of his medical condition. The minister said the cabinet directed the attorney general to plead with the Lahore High Court to either instruct Shehbaz Sharif to bring his brother back or face disqualification as member of the National Assembly under Article 63 of the Constitution. Shehbaz Sharif filed a fake affidavit, which is a violation of Article 63 of the Constitution and he should also be penalised for this offence, Fawad remarked.
The minister said the government would provide Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) before April 15 to use it in Islamabad local polls.
The cabinet, he said, approved the appointment of Asif Rashid as chairman Intellectual Property Organization (IPO), while two members from Punjab and one each from other provinces to its copyrights board.
The cabinet accorded approval for making the Securities Exchange Commission of Pakistan as regulator of the Credit Guarantee Trust Fund, under the Islamabad Capital Territory Trust Act, 2020 to prevent illicit capital from being transferred abroad, he said.
The minister said the government would soon launch a housing project in Islamabad on 400 canals of land for overseas Pakistanis with a capacity of 6,000 apartments. The initiative, he said, was aimed at enabling the overseas Pakistanis who were part of the Roshan Digital Accounts to buy properties in Pakistan, especially in Islamabad. He said it was expected to fetch around 2 billion dollar from the project.
The federal cabinet has directed both the ministries Interior and Finance to hold deliberations with boards of investment and review such schemes to facilitate foreigners in buying properties in Pakistan, he said.
He cited the example of Turkey and other countries, where the foreigners were allowed to buy properties. The body granted approval for the Capital Development Authority (CDA) budget 2021-22 and revised estimates, he maintained.
He said the CDA chairman informed the cabinet that the authority has generated revenue of Rs12.9 billion in 2018 after selling 53,817 square yards of land during the tenure of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN).
On the contrary, he said, it fetched Rs31.1 billion in 2021 during the PTI rule with sale of 46,783 square yards. The federal apex agency generated double revenue by selling less land. The cabinet gave approval for fuel price adjustment in electricity bills in fourth quarter of 2020-21. The adjustment would be given to consumers in three installments, he added.
He said the cabinet has deferred the approval for regularisation of Non-Custom Paid (NCP) vehicles in erstwhile Federally Administrated Tribal Areas. The minister said the cabinet approved the appointment of Dr Liaqat Masih Qaiser as member to the National Commission for Minorities.
In a land mark decision, he said, the federal cabinet granted approval for Science, Technology and Innovation policy. It was decided in the cabinet that the working on privatisation plan of Guddu and Nandipur power plants would continue, he added.
He said the prime minster in the meeting stressed the need for starting work on Kharian-Rawalpindi motorway at the earliest, adding that a meeting in that regard would be convened by next week.
Fawad said the cabinet accorded approval for importing 50,000 metric tonnes of Urea (fertilizer) from China, adding that Rs 50 billion have been given to Chinese Independent Power producers (IPPs) to resolve their issues.
To a query on the death toll of Murree tragedy, he said, Tehsil Headquarter Hospitals have given death certificates of 22 people. He said if the opposition disagreed with the figure, it should produce the list of dead people. In response to another question, the minister said cracks have started appearing in the PMLN and the party members would start parting ways in the coming days.
At the outset of the federal cabinet meeting, a detailed briefing was given to the forum on the Murree tragedy and was informed that the Punjab government had set up a high-level inquiry committee to probe the incident, he said.
Fateha was offered for the victims of the Murree tragedy, and it was stated that the entire nation stood with the families of the deceased, he added.
Fawad said the cabinet was informed that some 164,000 vehicles entered Murree in only five days, while 22 people died in five vehicles stranded between Kuldana and Barian. He said trees fell on the road due to heavy snowstorms which resulted in long queues of vehicles. Machinery and helicopters could not reach the area due to heavy snowfall.
Many people left their vehicles on the roads and went on foot to leave the area, whereas some people fell asleep with heaters on in their vehicles, he added.
According to the preliminary investigation, he said, the deaths occurred due to increased level of carbon monoxide in vehicles. The prime minister had expressed deep sorrow and regret over the Murree tragedy, he added.
The minister said during the past three years, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had revolutionised domestic tourism and it has developed 13 new tourist resorts, whereas in the past, over 70 years no new tourist sites were developed.
He said the provincial governments, authorities, and local administrations needed to be prepared for the influx of tourists. After the partition, no attention was paid for the purpose, he added. Chaudhry Fawad said the present government had tried to promote tourism as a sector.
Before Imran Khan became PM, he visited to Kumrat valley and the pictures released by him went viral, and a large number of people thronged the valley.
Pointing to immense potential of the tourism sector in Pakistan, Fawad said it must be given industry status to make Pakistan economically strong.
He said the affairs were reviewed by the cabinet to improve arrangements in Murree, adding new rules would be made in this regard. He said the Pakistan Army and civilian agencies carried out rescue efforts and made possible the evacuation of millions of people within 24 hours which was highly commendable.