Pakistan

Cabinet seeks world support to avert Afghan crisis


Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said that the federal cabinet, in a passionate appeal, had urged the global community, especially the Muslim Ummah, to rally support for averting humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

In the media briefing after the post-cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the government spokesperson said formal approval to set up a special fund for support of the Afghan people in turbulent times was also given in the meeting.

Fawad said the initiative would definitely enable people of Pakistan to extend direct help to the Afghan brethren as the government wanted uninterrupted humanitarian efforts for the war-ravaged country.

“We can’t ignore the situation where people are selling their children for wheat and rice,” Fawad lamented, adding that the world shouldn’t ignore the situation either.

“The primary reason that led to Afghanistan’s present situation is that the assets of Afghanistan are frozen and not being released,” he said. “The dependence of Afghanistan was on foreign aid; right now there is no foreign aid and the whole economy of Afghanistan has melted down.”

The minister emphasised on providing reprieve to the people of Afghanistan as poverty had increased.
The minister said Pakistan was planning to host a conference of foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) next month to discuss ways and means for extending maximum support to Afghanistan at this critical juncture.

“We believe what is going on in Afghanistan is catastrophic; we have been trying our best, and did our best to convey our concerns to the world and are willing to take all actions whatever we can to help the people of Afghanistan,” he remarked.

Read more: Taliban promise military action if TTP talks fail

Pakistan was working closely with the interim Afghan government, he said, adding that its foreign minister’s visit was due here in a day during which efforts for humanitarian assistance would be discussed at length to avert any catastrophic situation in Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan had already warned that the situation in Afghanistan was becoming gave with each passing day, adding that the Afghans would be the ultimate sufferers.

He said that a new UN report estimates that some 23 million out of the total 38 million population of Afghanistan will not have enough food to get through the winter unless aid is rapidly scaled up, as eight children have so far died because of hunger in Afghanistan and there are troubling reports coming from the neighbouring country where minor children are being sold for wheat and rice.

The cabinet decided that sufficient amounts of wheat and rice would be sent to Afghanistan, he said, adding that measures would be taken through which Afghanistan’s import could be eased out and taxes on Afghanistan’s imports would be slashed.

“The cabinet has made an appeal today to the people of the world, especially, to people of the Muslim countries that we must come together and help Afghanistan,” he revealed. Otherwise, he said, things are getting precarious and out of hand, adding that the children were suffering the most in Afghanistan.

TTP talks

On the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Fawad said that the people who joined it were Pakistanis and the state was ready to take them back if they swore their allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan.

The spokesperson said that talks were being held with the banned TTP under the purview of the Constitution, saying that all its groups will have to respect Pakistan’s Constitution and legal framework.

Also read: Talks with TTP aimed at weaning away ‘reconcilables’: Fawad

On the nature of talks, the information minister said that there are ideologues and then there are “people who have legitimate grievances against us [state]”. While further elaborating, he said that there were people who joined the TTP under compulsion. “All of them are Pakistanis,” the minister said. “The state of Pakistan wants to give its citizens a chance.”

“If all of them or some of them or part of them wants to come back and express their allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan and they respect the law of Pakistan,” Chaudhry said, “obviously, we will give them a chance.”

As far as talks are concerned, the minister said, the TTP has issued a proclamation through which they have announced ceasefire. “Wars are fought primarily to bring peace,” he said, adding that they had to be concluded. Right now, the minister said, Pakistan must talk from the position of strength as, with the change in Afghanistan, the Afghan authorities have also asked Pakistan to negotiate a deal with the TTP.

“We believe they have good intentions towards Pakistan; the new authorities in Afghanistan want peace in Pakistan,” he said, adding that the phenomenon of infinite war must also be discouraged. “Peace is only possible through talks,” he said. “That is what we are doing.”

Fawad said that a whole new generation has grown up and they can’t be held responsible for the decisions their elders or family members made in the past.

Joint session

Meanwhile, the minister said that Premier Imran directed party members to ensure their attendance in the joint session of parliament so that crucial legislation pertaining to electoral reforms and other bills could be passed.911 helpline

In addition, he said, the cabinet has decided to establish a unified helpline to be called 911. Fawad said that 911 is an internally recognised helpline and all emergency response numbers across the country will be merged into it. “There will only be one helpline in the country for emergency services,” he announced.

PDM march

To a question, Fawad said that the opposition will have to wait for the remaining period of the government and then for the next five years as they have tried their best but couldn’t oust the government.

Read: Govt, TTP agree to cease fire

Neither the opposition has any leader nor any programme, he said while suggesting the opposition to try to stand on its feet instead of just hatching conspiracies.

“The government is stable,” Fawad said, adding that the issue of inflation would be settled in the next two-to-three months.

On the PDM long march, the minister said that the protest call was nothing but an annual “winter activity” to flex their muscles.

Gas prices

The cabinet has approved increasing the prices of RLNG for the captive power plants from $6.5 to $9 per mmbtu, adding that the prices would remain the same for the remaining export sector.

It will remain enforced from Nov 15 till March 31, 2021.

The prices will not have any connection with domestic users, he said, adding that only 27 per cent people of Pakistan use gas while 77 per cent use cylinders. In a way, he said, the 77 per cent people were paying the price for the 23 per cent people. He said people of Pakistan were being given the cheapest gas in the world.

He criticised the media’s role for often exaggerating the issues, saying market sentiment is destroyed because of the hype.

PTDC

The cabinet has also decided to give PTDC properties on lease to the private sector to promote tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK, he said, adding that the same policy would be adopted in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

“There is a big influx of tourism but they find it difficult to stay in these areas.”

 

LIVE #APPNews : Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ch Fawad Hussain briefs media persons about the decisions taken in the federal cabinet meeting #Islamabad. @fawadchaudhry @MoIB_Official https://t.co/IajWedOCts
— APP 🇵🇰 (@appcsocialmedia) November 9, 2021

 

 


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