Issues to bring back Nawaz ‘largely settled’

Minister says govt working on law with UK for last two years; mini-budget to be passed in ongoing NA session

Our Correspondent December 28, 2021
Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Chaudhary Fawad Hussain briefing media persons about the decisions taken in Federal Cabinet meeting in Islamabad on Dec 28, 2021. Photo: APP


The government on Tuesday pledged to bring former convicted premier Nawaz Sharif back to the country, revealing that issues had “largely been settled” with the UK for this purpose.

Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, while briefing the media after a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, said the government was working on a law with the UK for the last two years and on verge of removing all the anomalies in it.

“We have addressed most of the lacunas in the law after working with UK for the last two years and we will bring him back,” Fawad announced, quipping that the hearts of the residents of Jati Umra had sunk when PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq had hinted that Nawaz was coming back. Jati Umra is the residence of the Sharif family.

“I am telling you that they [Sharifs] themselves would never return; we will have to bring them back,” the minister maintained, adding that he had opposed the idea of allowing Nawaz to depart for London back in 2019.

Read Local court accepts Jokhio murder case challan

The minister also announced that the mini-budget would be passed in the ongoing session of the National Assembly.

He added that the cabinet had initially discussed the bill on Tuesday and it was expected that it would further deliberate on in its special meeting on December 29.

Calling the mini-budget as the government’s “adjustments”, Fawad said it would be presented before the assembly once the cabinet gave it its nod.

The other major decisions that the cabinet made included the approval of the country’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP). The move comes a day after the National Security Council (NSC) had approved the NSP 2022-2026, which aimed at bolstering the country’s economic security and tackling external as well as internal challenges.

National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf, while addressing the post-cabinet news conference, said the NSP was an umbrella document which would provide direction for the formulation of sector-wise policies and strategies.

The NSA said economic security provided an opportunity to spend on military and other important areas, including food, population, and water securities.

While explaining policy on external relations, Yusuf said that it could be summed up in just a sentence: “Agenda is peace with neighbouring and other countries”.

In addition, the cabinet allowed the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the murder of Nazim Jokhio.

The JIT would include officials from police, intelligence agencies and armed forces.

Jokhio was allegedly tortured to death by PPP MPA Jam Awais in Malir's Memon Goth, Karachi for preventing the lawmaker’s foreign guests from hunting the protected Houbara Bustard by posting their videos on social media.

The cabinet also gave directions for publication of MPs’ 2019 tax directory.

The information minister said only Pakistani politicians’ tax records were made public.

“No other sector has as much accountability as politicians.”

He added that the assets of politicians and their families were in the public domain.

“The new directory would also provide the record of tax payments to the public.”

In response to a question, Fawad lambasted the opposition parties, saying they did not have the “guts” to topple the government with their “so-called” protest movement.

He called the opposition leaders “daily-wage politicians”.

The minister claimed that the opposition parties lacked leadership when compared with PM Imran.

“It was Imran Khan who had given a tough time to the previous government as an opposition leader.”

He recalled that opposition leaders, including JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, had repeatedly given deadlines to overthrow the government for the past three years but nothing had happened so far.

About former Gilgit-Baltistan chief judge Rana Shamim's affidavit in the Islamabad High Court, the minister said its proceedings were exposing how the “Sicilian mafia” – the Sharif family – worked to pressure the courts.

Read Also: Cabinet approves Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy: NSA

The cabinet gave the nod to the ex-post facto approval of an agreement to set up 1.2 million gallon per day desalination plant in Gwadar.

The scheme would be completed at a cost of Rs2.2 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and provide clean water facilities to the residents of Gwadar.

Referring to recent protests in Gwadar, Fawad said federal ministers, Asad Umar and Zubeida Jalal, had promised to provide the residents with a clean water project, which was now being fulfilled.

The cabinet approved the extradition proceedings against Nazia Shaheen and Shabar Abbas.

The Italian government had demanded the extradition of both the accused so that they could be tried for murder.

Similarly, the cabinet also approved to initiate extradition proceedings against Muhammad Usman.

The UAE had demanded the extradition of Usman so that he could be tried for murder.

The cabinet also gave the nod to the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) recommendation to send Rs23.3 million worth of relief items to Cuba in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.


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