ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz says the government or prime minister has nothing to do with incitement to the FIR [first information report], registered against Nawaz Sharif, adding that someone linked to the PML-N supremo may have done that.
Briefing the media after a federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said “we have not given a certificate of treason to anyone”. He said opposition leaders looted the country and stole its wealth, but we are not saying they were agitators.
Shibli said various issues were being reviewed at a federal cabinet meeting on Tuesday. He said PM Imran was not “free” enough to get registered cases against the opposition, nor was he pursuing the FIR. He said that there are many FIRs (registered) in the country. “If they are registered by order of the prime minister, or if he finds out about all the FIRs,” asked the minister, adding that “you can file an FIR against me after leaving here. Please don’t involve the prime minister or government in this (matter) at all.
“It is possible that their own people did it,” the teacher. Shibli continued, the Punjab government will investigate and find out who submitted the FIR.
He explained that a person, whether he remained prime minister three times or three thousand times, would be assigned if he did something wrong, or broke the laws of the country. If he was corrupt, he would not deserve any relaxation, the minister added.
He pointed out that Nawaz Sharif not only faced charges but was also convicted by the court. The minister accused past rulers of being involved in corruption and amassing wealth and not being above the law. Even if Prime Minister Imran Khan made a mistake, he too would be dealt with according to law. He added, “Our fight is against those who exploit Pakistan for their personal gain.” He also said that Imran Khan would not be under pressure from the opposition, as all assets and everything are in Pakistan.
The minister explained that the prime minister did not call himself “the only patriot” in the country. He added that it had been proven “everywhere” and at the international level that he was a “patriot”.
He said Pakistan had the choice of two leaders, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif. Comparing the two leaders, Faraz said it was easy to manipulate a leader who has assets in a foreign country. “When you have assets in other countries your foreign policy, even if it is in your national interest, you will not be able to pursue it because of your conflict of interest,” said Faraz.
He said in Imran Khan’s case, he was a leader “who is not corrupt and he also has no business”. He added that Pakistan’s enemies cannot bring Imran Khan under “international pressure” because whatever he has is in Pakistan.
“We have no problem with the opposition. We are doing our job, but the corruptors will not be spared, ”the minister warned. The minister said during a cabinet meeting he had been informed that economic indicators are going well, large-scale manufacturing and the current account deficit has improved and the ongoing spending deficit has been under control for two consecutive months.
He said the cabinet was reviewing the situation with regard to daily necessities and expressed concern over rising prices while Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered to develop a comprehensive strategy to lower the prices of essential goods.
Shibli Faraz said the cabinet meeting noted with concern that the provincial government had failed to control price increases. The ministers also complained about the rising price of daily necessities.
The minister said the PM expressed serious concern over rising prices for edible goods, as the cabinet was given detailed briefings on domestic wheat and sugar stocks. It is known that sufficient quantities of this commodity are available in this country.
He claimed the price of wheat was higher in Sindh because of the reluctance of the provincial government to release stocks. The prime minister issued a directive to crack down on those causing commodity shortages and check stocks at sugar mills.
The cabinet was briefed that the cotton harvest target for this year could not be achieved due to heavy losses caused by rain and floods. The Cabinet agreed to coordinate with the provincial government, police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure security measures on the occasion of Chehlum from Hazrat Imam Hussain (RA).
The meeting was informed that despite liabilities of Rs400 billion and difficult circumstances, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) has increased its revenue to Rs7.6 billion. He said the cabinet praised the PIA’s performance in bringing back 250,000 Pakistanis stranded from abroad after the coronavirus.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar briefed the meeting on economic indicators showing positive signs. In addition, he noted that foreign remittances had risen beyond government expectations and the current account deficit had been under control over the past two months.
Foreign reserves have reached $ 20 billion, he added. Asad Omar said that importing flour would make flour cheaper. The Cabinet also decided to crack down on those involved in rising sugar prices.
Minister of Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed presented the railway rehabilitation and reconstruction plan and employee pension at the meeting. He told the meeting that the rehabilitation of the Karachi Loop Railway would be completed in three stages. Later, the cabinet approved the railway rehabilitation plan.
On the political situation in the country, Shibli Faraz said the opposition’s narrative is similar to Pakistan’s enemies when opposition leaders speak as if they are rivals of Pakistan. He said those who go with a narrative of enemies of the state cannot be called patriots.
“We will conclude that you are speaking in the language of the enemy. We have not mentioned who is a traitor and who is not a traitor,” said Faraz. He noted India was trying its best to push Pakistan onto the Blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The enemy of Pakistan, he pointed out, is trying to weaken our institutions to create a prevailing situation in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan; they want to create chaos, political instability and economic unrest in Pakistan.
For a question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan is working for a Pakistan that is developed and free of corruption and impartial and transparent accountability will continue in the country. He said all citizens were equal before the law.
Foreign investment, he said, was also satisfying and the government wanted more foreign investors to come here, adding that the meeting expressed concern over rising prices for daily necessities. They also regretted that the rain had damaged crops and raised prices, as well as affected cotton production and climate change. Cotton production targets will not be met, it noted with concern.
Shibli Faraz said that PML-N Muhammad Zubair said he would be the party spokesman until the fall of the PTI government. “I congratulate him on being the party spokesman for life,” he said sarcastically. Cabinet supported the decision of the ECC meeting, held on September 30, but postponed decisions on electricity and gas tariffs.