Cabinet decides to retain names of 172 persons on ECL

Cabinet decides to retain names of 172 persons on ECL
Islamabad: The Federal cabinet on Thursday in its meeting decided to keep names of 172 persons on Exit Control List (ECL) till Supreme Court issued its detailed verdict on the matter.

Speaking at a press conference, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the government would further consider the issue after the detailed verdict of the apex court and would decide whether it should file a review or not. 

He was briefing on the cabinet decisions along with Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar.

He said main leadership of Pakistan People's Party including Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Murad Ali Shah were allegedly involved in the fake accounts case. The money reportedly went from Murad Ali Shah to Omni Group then to the PPP leaders and billions of rupees were spent on buying of properties in Dubai and London.

He said the report of Joint Investigation Team (JIT) came in 2018 and it recommended 172 names for putting on the ECL. The scandal of sending money abroad from Sindh to foreign countries sufaced in 2015, he added.

The Federal Cabinet turned town the recommendation of the Interior Ministry to remove names of twenty persons from the Exit Control List in the fake bank accounts case.

The Cabinet decided to constitute a committee including State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Minister for Law Farogh Naseem and Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar to further look into the matter.

Fawad said the Cabinet noted with satisfaction that the country’s exports increased by 4.5 percent during the month of December, imports reduced which curtailed the trade deficit by upto $ 450 million and had a positive impact on the economy.

He said the efforts of the Prime Minister and his economic team had an impact on the current account deficit and the friendly countries also lent support to the government. The loans of banks to private sector rose by Rs 504 billion and loans to deposits ratio also grew, he added.

He told that Prime Minister ordered the Ministry of Law to create a negative category list to determine the eligibility of overseas Pakistanis for jobs in government. Prime Minister Imran Khan had strong affiliation with overseas Pakistanis and he wanted to create extensive opportunities for them, he added.

He said the PM had instructed Petroleum of Ministry to prepare a comprehensive plan to overcome gas shortages. About 28 percent of citizens were using system gas while 63 percent use LPG cylinders.

The losses of the gas sector had increased to Rs 177 billion and Rs 50 billion of gas was being stolen due to bad decisions of the last government, he said adding the Prime Minister was amazed at the use of 44000 units of electricity in the Prime Minister House and ordered the audit of use of electricity by his staff.

In the tenure of the previous government, 95000 units of electricity were consumed in the Prime Minister House.

He said Air Marshal Arshad Malik was acting Chief Executive of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while an advertisement had been issued to appoint a person on permanent basis. Secretary Aviation Shahrukh was given the additional charge of Director General Aviation.

Minister for Planning and Statistics Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said opposition was not justified in raising hue and cry about price hikes as according to verifiable figures of Bureau of Statistics, in the first months of the PPP and PMLN governments inflation rose to 11.2 percent and 9.1 percent respectively.

He said the PTI government inherited average inflation rate of 5.8 percent and it rose to 6.2 percent by December.

He said the government had decided to chalk out a communication strategy to make the people updated about latest prices of each and every commodity so that the profiteers and hoarders should be discouraged to exploit people due to their ignorance about the current prices of the commodities.

He said in today's Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister had directed to prepare a strict price control mechanism at provincial level to ensure that the people get the commodities on the prescribed rates. He said the Consumer Price Index and Sensitive Price Index came down for low income groups having salary from Rs 17000 to Rs 77000 per month.

He said in the 8th Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC held in Beijing last month, the two countries signed cooperation agreements in the fields of agriculture, industrialization, and socio economic development.

“We have nine Specialized Economic Zones and we want to focus on initiating work on these economic zones as early as possible.”, he said.