Govt rings Covid alarm bells

-Decides to digitalize Cabinet proceedings
-Asks citizens to strictly observe virus SOPs
-Alerts Sindh, Balochistan authorities over surging virus cases
-Expresses willingness to talk with opposition
-Shows satisfaction over declining trend of Flour, Sugar prices

By Ajmal Khan Yousafzai

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said that the government wanted the prevailing health, law and order situation to resolve in a effective and peaceful manners.
Addressing a presser to shed light on the decisions taken by the federal cabinet, Fawad Chaudhry said that any group could present its demands before the state, however, being a state, they could not allow any group to make decisions on its behalf.
“We can hold talks on demands, however, issuing directives to a government is not acceptable in any manner,” he said adding that the protest had disrupted oxygen supply at health facilities treating COVID-19 patients. Cabinet decisions, COVID-19 situationFawad Chaudhry announced that it has been decided to digitalize the cabinet proceedings including summaries and law-making content in order to save Rs 510 million from the national exchequer.
“The summaries and law-making affairs in the cabinet will be digitalized,” he announced adding that the cabinet members would be provided with a tablet from the next week and the step would help in saving Rs510 million.
The information minister said that the federal minister and NCOC head Asad Umar briefed the meeting on COVID-19 situation and said that if the situation does not get improved in the ongoing week then a sharp increase in COVID-19 could be witnessed during the Eid shopping spree.
“Sindh and Balochistan could be affected by the virus in the coming days,” he said adding that the government was trying all-out efforts to ensure import a sufficient quantity of COVID vaccines.
Ready to talk with opposition on electoral reforms
Speaking on the PDM, Fawad Chaudhry said that the politics of the resignations has been buried and the opposition’s narrative to send the government packing has been ruined completely.
“PPP will neither resign nor leave the Sindh government,” he said. He further said that since the PDM remains no more, the government was ready to hold talks separately with the PPP, PML-N and JUI-F on electoral reforms.
Declining trend of flour, sugar prices Further speaking on inflation, he said a declining trend in the prices of flour and sugar is being witnessed in the previous days.
“The utility stores were performing miserably, however, Hammad Azhar has been able to lift its performance,” Fawad Chaudhry said as the government announced a Ramazan package under which food items would be provided at subsidized rates.
Jahangir Tareen Speaking regarding Jahangir Tareen, Fawad Chaudhry said that he was a key leader of the PTI and many party leaders had an association with him. “It is not a big issue if anyone goes to the reception organized by Jahangir Tareen,” he said.
On the other hand, in another change in portfolios in the federal cabinet, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry has been given an additional charge of the information ministry.
According to sources privy to the matter, a notification for allotting an additional charge to Fawad Chaudhry will be issued shortly. Before, his appointment, Senator Shibli Faraz has served as the information minister. Soon after getting the portfolio, Fawad Chaudhry shared details of the federal cabinet with the media, highlighting the decisions taken during the meeting headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Shibli Faraz, who was previously serving as information minister, did not take oath after becoming Senator again from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. During the last cabinet reshuffle in March 2021, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government removed Hafeez Shaikh as finance minister. Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was made the finance minister back in December 2020.
Hammad Azhar was given an additional portfolio of the finance ministry. It emerged that former information minister Shibli Faraz will be given the portfolio of the petroleum ministry, while the information ministry will be separated into two divisions.