Cabinet stresses speedy trial of people involved in Sialkot incident

Cabinet stresses speedy trial of people involved in Sialkot incident

Govt to launch awareness drive about EVM: Fawad

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry announced that the government would start a campaign to raise awareness about Electronic Voting Machines (EVM).
He was addressing a press conference after a cabinet meeting in Islamabad.
Chaudhry said the government had a clear stance on the matter. Before criticising the EVMs, he said, the Election Commission of Pakistan and opposition parties should understand how it works and facilitates the elections.
“We only have objections to a [party] criticising EVMs without understanding this mechanism,” he said. “If time is sought to understand the mechanism, we would not have any objection.”
The information minister told the ECP that it had laid down 27 conditions for the EVMs, so it should issue a tender in line with those recommendations.
“Our objective behind introducing EVMs is only one — free and fair elections,” he asserted.
Chaudhry also criticised the PML-N and PPP for “launching a campaign against overseas Pakistanis”, referring to their opposition to the granting of voting rights to Pakistanis residing abroad.
He termed the opposition parties’ move “political suicide”, saying that the right to vote was being given to all overseas Pakistanis, not only those associated with the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf.
The minister added that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz, who had been living abroad, would now also be given the opportunity to vote for their father’s party.
As for Sialkot lynching incident, he said the cabinet stressed the need to start a trial of the people involved in the lynching at the earliest and they be punished in line with the law. Violence against Muslims takes place “every now and then” in India and no one bats an eye, but in Pakistan, the entire nation stands unified against such acts, the information minister said.
Replying to a question, he told reporters that President Arif Alvi would seek nominations for the National Accountability Bureau chairperson from the prime minister and opposition leader under a new mechanism for the appointment of the anti-graft watchdog’s chief.
To a question about the possibility of former Gilgit-Baltistan judge Rana Shamim going abroad, he said the judge could only fly out of the country if the court allowed him to do so.
He said a comparative analysis of prices was shared in the cabinet meeting and it showed that the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) had gone down for the second consecutive week.
“The SPI has reduced by 0.48 points,” he said, adding that some steps were taken by the Sindh government that had slightly stabilised prices in Karachi, where prices were higher than the rest of the country.
The minister further stated that the cabinet had decided to allow Afghan citizens to travel abroad from airports in Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.