Fawad Chaudhry says next general elections will be held under new census

Hamza HabibOur Correspondent

22nd Sep, 2021. 11:00 am
Fawad Chaudhry

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the next elections would be held under a new census before the completion of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) tenure.

While elaborating the decisions of the cabinet meeting, held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chaudhry said that the seventh census in the country would be held within 540 days or 18 months for which the premier had constituted a committee that would finalise the modalities.

The minister said that state of the art technology would be used to assure transparency in the census.

“This news is a disappointment for those who want next elections on the basis of the last census,” said Chaudhry.

He said that during the cabinet meeting, the role and conduct of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were also discussed. Chaudhry maintained that ECP’s concerns over the new Electoral Voting Machine (EVM) were not justified at all.

“The opposition is least interested in the electoral reforms as for them, their interests are far more important than the national interests. If the government withdraws corruption cases against them today, they will not only stop opposing it but will also retire from politics to protect their illegal money and assets.”

Chaudhry said that due to a hike in house rent, PM approved a 44% increase in the house rent of the federal government employees from Grade-1 to 22.

Regarding a hike in petroleum prices, he said it was a global phenomenon. Chaudhry added, if compared to other regional countries, the prices in Pakistan were still low.

He also claimed that wages in all sectors of the economy substantially increased during PTI’s tenure.

“Three years back, textile sector was on the verge of a collapse, but now it’s working on 100% and booked export orders from abroad in advance till 2023.” According to initial reports, the size of the cotton crop was likely to increase by a massive 160%, announced the minister.

However, Chaudhry admitted that the salaries of media workers did not increase and added the government cleared dues of media houses to the tune of Rs850 million, and now they should not only clear the dues of their workers but also raise their salaries.

He said the cabinet also planned to introduce legislation to ensure that no immoral or pornographic material goes up on social media. According to Chaudhry, PM Imran gave directives to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for tracing out sources of any such objectionable material and then take appropriate action against them.

Chaudhry also pointed out that PM took strong notice of MNAs and Senators who become members of different standing committees to serve their business interests. He said to avoid any conflict of interest, the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs would write letters to the Speaker National Assembly and Chairman Senate to remove such members from those committees. He clarified if the advice of the ministry was not entertained, the government would introduce legislation to stop the practice.

Chaudhry observed that the government’s drive against polio was yielding encouraging results and in the last seven months only one case of the disease was reported.

He said the cabinet also decided to introduce the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) system in Islamabad on the same lines that exist in countries like the US and UK.

“The ADR system is more like a ‘Panchayat,’ a council that exists in our villages for dispute resolution.”

Chaudhry said through this system, many issues could be settled out of courts, reducing the burden on the judiciary.

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