Cabinet plans Commission to probe POL shortage

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By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Tuesday said the Federal Cabinet had approved the proposal for constitution of a commission to inquire into the causes of shortage of petrol last month in the country.
Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shibli Faraz said the commission would give recommendations to ensure that such a situation would not arise in future and suggest an action against the delinquent elements.
He said that the commission would be headed by Federal Investigation Agency Additional Director General Abu-Bakr Khuda Bux, with the Director General (DG) Anti-Corruption Punjab, former DG Oil and Petroleum Division Rashid Farooq and Petroleum Institute Pakistan Chief Executive Officer Asim Murtaza as members. Shibli Faraz said the Cabinet was informed that due to logistical problems and some issues of the refineries, the availability of Euro 5 petroleum products in the country would be ensured from September 1 instead of August 1.
He said the Cabinet also discussed the Karachi situation in the wake of recent rains, which had flooded the city roads and streets. It seemed that there was no government there, he said, lamenting that the Pakistan People’s Party government had done noting for the development of Sindh, including Karachi, the most important city of the country. It was a clear evidence of the Sindh government’s incompetence and the people of Karachi could not be left at its mercy anymore. The Federal Government would take every possible measures to ensure relief for the Karachiites, he added.
The choking of Karachi’s sewerage system, he said, was another proof that in the past few decades all institutions had been ruined as the city’s infrastructure was not revamped. There was no clue where the billions of rupees funds had been spent in the name of development, he added. The Paksiatn Tehreek-e-Insaf’s members of assemblies from Karachi, he said, had been asked to remain in touch with the people of their respective constituencies and give proposals for betterment Shibli said the prime minister expressed his satisfaction over the people’s astounding response to the Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme, which would not only provide shelter but had the potential to lift the entire economy.
He said the PM showed his dismay over non-payment of salaries to the media workers by media house owners. The minister said the Cabinet was informed that the country had sufficient stock of wheat and sugar, and there was no issue of demand and supply. It was being provided to the flour mills in the Punjab, and the provincial government was providing subsidy on the product. Similarly, the wheat and its flour were available in other provinces also, he added. He, however, said the private and public sectors had been allowed to import wheat to meet the deficit of 1.5 million ton. The district administrations had been directed to take strict action against the hoarders of wheat and sugar, he added.
Shibli Faraz said the coronavirus situation was also reviewed in the meeting. The PM expressed his satisfaction over reduction in the corona cases in the country and appealed to the people to exercise care and adopt precautionary measures on Eidul Azha and during the Muharram-ul-Haram as the pandemic was not yet over. Replying to questions of media persons, Shibli Faraz said that the Sindh government was responsible for the flood like situation being faced by Karachi due to rains. The issue of negligence and inefficiency of the provincial government would be raised in the Parliament as well as in the Sindh Assembly by the city’s elected representatives, he added.
He said it was unfortunate the people of Karachi, who were already facing the brunt of COVID-19 crisis, had to face another another calamity of rainwater flooding.The Sindh government would have to take measures on war-footing to provide relief to the residents of mega city.
The minister said after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, solving the problems of Karachi was the basic responsibility of the Sindh government. Its five to six persons, who used to hold news conferences to castigate the Federal Government, had now disappeared from the scene. The Sindh government leaders could not absolve themselves of the responsibility and would have to mitigate the sufferings of Karachiites instead of issuing mere statements. He said the Sindh government had played politics on the coronavirus pandemic and now it was showing negligence in handling the Karachi situation after rains.
To a question, he said the responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments were well-defined in the Constitution and a case in that regard was already in the Sindh High Court. The PM asked the Attorney General for Pakistan to pursue so that the Centre could play its constitutional role properly. About the increase in the price of wheat and flour, the minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan was fully aware of the situation. The provincial chief secretaries were summoned Monday for a meeting on the matter and all the chief ministers had also been directed to not only ensure smooth availability of flour but also its fine quality.0
He said the government and its departments were working round the clock to ensure smooth supply of the commodity and appealed to the masses to keep an eye on the hoarders, who could exploit the situation. To another question, he stressed the people to deem it their social responsibility by strictly following the standard operating procedures and precautionary measures to contain the coronavirus on Eidul Azha and during Muharram-ul-Harram. If both the public and the government departments worked in unison, the virus would remain under control, he added.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had been playing the pivotal role as the ambassador of Kashmiris and the advocate of Kashmir cause very effectively. Pakistan strongly condemned the Indian actions of August 5 last year and many events were being organised on the occasion of its first anniversary, he added.