2023 elections will be held after 7th census
2023 elections will be held after 7th census

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said on Tuesday that the next general election would be held after seventh population census and new demarcation of constituencies.

While briefing the media after the cabinet meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that the entire process would take 550 days to complete the population census.

The minister said that for the first time new technology would be used to complete the population census within 540 days or (one and a half year) before the next general election in the country. The election would be held after the completion of population census.

He said that the prime minister has constituted a special committee for a detailed discussion on the issue of seventh population census.

Referring to the electronic voting machine, he said that the opposition should welcome the decision of the government for electoral reforms and give its suggestion to ensure transparent election in the country.

He once against suggested to the opposition to come forward and propose suggestions for the electoral reforms, if it had any reservation on government proposed electoral reforms law.

He alleged that the opposition was politicizing electoral reforms to save the money it sent abroad made through corruption. If the government tell them today that the money they have made from corruption would not accounted for they would not politicize it.

On inflation, the minister said that the oil and gas prices in Pakistan are even lower compared to those countries where it was being produced.

However, he acknowledged that inflation was a matter of grave concern for the government and measures are being taken to protect the low-income group. The minister said that deprecation of exchange rate was also one of the factors for inflation but insisted that he would not admit that the purchasing power of all the segment of societies was eroded. However, he said he would admit that the salary class income had not increased, therefore, the federal cabinet decided to allow them 44 percent increase in the house rent of government employees in grades one to 22.

The minister said the increase was allowed after reviewing the increase in the houses’ rents in major cities.

Such practice was repeated after every three years, he added.

The minister said there is only one case of polio that appeared in last seven months and the cabinet appreciated the Health Ministry as this has been recorded as the lowest rate in the country so far.

The country, which shows no polio cases for at least three years, would give the status of polio-free country, he said. He said that Uzbekistan is being added to the business visa list.

“We have a vision to build a Trans-Mazar-e-Sharif train that would go to Uzbekistan via Gwadar and Karachi via Mazar-e-Sharif. Talks with Uzbekistan have been welcome in this regard, the minister said. The minister said that Pakistan was paying the price of taking stance of “absolutely not”.

He said that the government was take legal opinion for taking legal action against New Zealand and England cricket boards for cancelling tour of Pakistan.

He said that the cancellation of the tour of Pakistan by the England and New Zealand Cricket Boards had caused huge financial loss to Pakistan Television.

The minister said that a certain global lobby is in action against Pakistan but they would not succeed in their designs.

The federal cabinet has decided to send the privatization of Services Hotel to the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) after the Senate Advisory Committee reservations that privatization was done on less price.

He said that there was no clarity whether the height of the hotel can go up to 245 feet or 500 feet.

The minister said that as the bidding was done on 245 feet, so the matter was forwarded to the CCoP for review.

The cabinet expressed concern over inclusion of those members in the committees who had conflict of interests. The government has also decided to allow Canadian Punjabi movies and some other countries’ movies to revive the Pakistani cinema.

Fawad said Jammu and Kashmir State Property Budget worth Rs190.383 million for the fiscal year 2021-22 had also been approved by the cabinet.

The forum also accorded approval to hire services of M/s KPMG Taseer Hadi and Co for [the audit] of the National Database and Registration Authority financial accounts for fiscal year 2020-21.

He said that Asif Rauf had been appointed as the chief executive officer of the Drug Regulatory Authority for the next three months.

The minister said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) presented a policy directive to the meeting on a judgment referred by the Islamabad High Court to the federal cabinet regarding the blockage of social media companies and inappropriate content on social media sites.

The policy directive was meant to appraise the court that the government was fully empowered to take action for the removal of unlawful content from social media sites.

About social media rules and regulations, he said the government was working on a two-pronged strategy to address social media-related issues through new policy initiatives.

The strategy was not only aimed to curb those companies that were delaying action against producers of pornographic content but also taking legal action against the individuals, involved in making objectionable content in Pakistan, he added.

He said issues related to social media had become a major problem in the country that was why a new policy debate on the matter was being initiated that would be led by Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari.

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