Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz Tuesday said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was bound to fail as the opposition’s 11-party ‘unnatural’ alliance had difference of opinion on the matters pertaining to long march and en mass resignations from the Parliament.
“The opposition parties are in total disarray. They are completely confused in taking collective and clear future decisions as their hands and feet are tied together. They are unable to make independent decisions despite having a desire to do so,” Shibli told the media persons after the meeting of Federal Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
He said the PDM parties were hostage to their own narrative for having divergent opinion on the future strategy. Their plans of long march on Islamabad and en mass resignations were destined to fail.
“The person, who was planning to launch a movement against the government, has himself faced a revolt in his own party,” he remarked while referring to the statement of a Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) leader, who had declared his party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as ‘selected’.
The fissures emerged in the JUI-F, he said, had exposed Maulana’s credibility. “Credibility of a party leader, who launches a movement, is very important and if his credibility gets exposed then how his workers can follow him.”
Instead of getting momentum, he said, the movement had become the victim of despondency as with the passage of time all the PDM parties had started sensing their inevitable defeat.
Shibli Faraz regretted that unelected people were making attempts to derail a democratically elected government, which was not only tantamount to subdue the ongoing democratic process in the country, but also negated the democratic norms.
“Discredited and corrupt opposition is demanding resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has come into the power through a constant struggle, spanning over a period of 22 years,” he added.
Unlike the opposition leaders, he said, Imran Khan did not come into the power due to his family. Before coming into the politics, he was fully involved in social work that included establishment of a hospital and universities. He had even won the cricket world cup for the country when he was a sportsman, he added.
The minister maintained that no political leader in the country could match the prime minister’s stature, which he enjoyed not only at national, but also at international level.
Imran Khan was given multiple offers in the past for coming into the power [through back door chennels], but he rejected all the propositions as he could never compromise on principles, he added.
Shibli Faraz said under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan, the country was today on an upward trajectory as major economic indicators were reported positive that included a record increase in exports and home remittances.
He also mentioned the increase in exports witnessed by the country for five consecutive months. Exports’ growth had broken the 10-year record, he added.
About the PDM, he said its leaders’ politics had entered into a closed alley. Their defeat and humiliation was unavoidable as they belonged to different parties having various directions and opinions .
Their ‘flop’ show in Lahore the other day showed that the nation had completely rejected their narrative and the time would come when their politics would be buried once for all, he added.
Thank you #Lahore..
Loud claims of 11 opposition parties in the PDM turned out to be sandcastles. Today's flop show is a reflection of the fact that the people of #Pakistan stand by Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI & his statement and Pakistan is moving towards progress. pic.twitter.com/oRM7pErgMB
— Aftab Siddiqui (@AftabSiddiqiPTI) December 14, 2020
Giving details about the decisions taken in the Federal Cabinet meeting, he said its proceedings were a bit different today as only those ministers were invited at the Prime Minister Office, whose ministries’ matters were on the agenda.
Other ministers, advisors and special assistants, he added, participated in the meeting through video links, owing to the spike in coronavirus cases. The step was aimed at conveying a message to all the government institutions that adherence to the anti-coronavirus standard operating procedures was mandatory.
He said the people were witnessing that the situation across the globe was horrible, especially in the United Kingdom, where travel restrictions had been imposed to contain the new variant of coronavirus.
Shibli Faraz appealed to the nation to fully adhere to the coronavirus health guidelines as the deadly contagion was not only detrimental to the economy but also to the public health.
“As a nation, we have successfully defeated the virus during its first wave by cooperating with the government… the same resolve is needed today when the infections are getting intensified and hospitals are overburdened,” he noted.
Calling the political gatherings as COVID-spreaders, he said a major spike in the infection was seen in the areas where the opposition had held public meetings in the past. “Statistics clearly show exponential growth in the positivity rate of infections in such areas.”
The opposition leaders parties were out for a personal fight while putting the lives of people at risk by flouting the instructions of government and courts in that regard, he added.
As regards the cabinet decisions, he said it gave clear directions to the departments concerned for removal of obstructions and encroachments at the Margalla Road in Islamabad. The ministries concerned were asked to ensure implementation of the instructions as law was equal for all.
Circular debt in the power sector jumped 32% in one year as it went up to Rs2.1 trillion in June 2020 from Rs1.6 trillion in June 2019, according to National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s (Nepra) State of the Industry Report 2020. https://t.co/MJ7EPbhjaB
— Dr. Ikramul Haq (@DrIkramulHaq) October 21, 2020
He said the cabinet approved amendments in the CDA Ordinance 1960 that was meant to promote public-private partnership for carrying out development work in the city.
The cabinet gave go-ahead for submitting results of the Sixth Population and Housing Census 2017 to the Council of Common Interests for its final approval.
He said reconstitution of the Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited’s (ZTBL) board was also approved because the major part of the economy based on agriculture. The ZTBL had an important role to boost economic activities by bringing innovation in the agriculture sector.
The minister said the government wanted to transform the ZTBL on modern lines. It was also decided to include one representative of Ministry of National Food Security and Research in the ZTBL board for effective implementation of the government’s policy vis-à-vis agro-economy.
He said the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority’s annual report 2019-20 was also presented to the cabinet.
He said the cabinet was also told that the initiatives for increased use of modern means for power generation in the country were underway. The departments concerned were asked for enhancing competitive environment in the power sector so that consumers could get electricity at cheap rates by curtailing the circular debt.
The cabinet was informed that the coordination among the power sector and research departments was being strengthened for its uplift. He said the energy crisis, saddled by the present government from its predecessors, was a complex issue and that was why its solution was among top priorities of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The prime minister expressed a resolve to transform the power sector through innovation and dedication of all the ministers concerned, he added.
Shibli Faraz said the decisions taken in the meeting of Economic Coordination Committee that took place on December 16 were also ratified by the cabinet. It also gave go-ahead to delegate power to the interior ministry for bringing change in the Exit Control List in line with the directive of apex court, he added.
The final authority to give approval to the changes made in the ECL rested with the Federal Cabinet, he noted.
To a query, Shibli Faraz said in an interview with a television channel the other day, Maulana Fazl had rather issued a decree declaring himself as an honest and righteous person. Even many reputed caliphs of Islam did not dare to make such claims, he added.
The Maulana, under his religious cloak, was using the religion for politics and politics for his business, the minister said. The same was the case with the leaders of other PDM parties, including Nawaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz, who all considered themselves above the law and did not believe in the rule of law, he added.