Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain says next general elections will be held on the basis of new census for which the cabinet on Tuesday approved five billion rupees.
He was briefing media regarding decisions taken in the federal cabinet that met in Islamabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.
The Minister said results of the pilot survey under the Census -2022 will be revealed by the end of April or in the start of May while the whole process will be completed till the end of this year. He said after getting these results, Election Commission will start delimitation of constituencies for next general elections.
Fawad Chaudhary said, the cabinet was briefed on the spread of COVID-19 in the country. It was informed that despite a spike in Corona cases only 1.5 percent increase in hospitalization was recorded that shows our health system is not overburdened with this wave.
The Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan's successful policy of smart lockdown is being implemented again to deal with this wave. He said the policy is being acknowledged worldwide and even United Kingdom has decided to implement it. The Minister said it is great news that according to the Economist Pakistan is among those few countries which have returned to normalcy after the COVID-19.
The Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed to devise a mechanism for provision of relief to overseas Pakistanis for their COVID-19 test that is compulsory before travelling abroad. He said, in this regard, a summary will be moved to ECC to devise a legal framework.
Chaudhary Fawad Hussain said the cabinet was also briefed over the increase in imports and exports of the country. It was informed that Pakistan's machinery imports have risen by 35 percent, indicating the long term expansion in Textile and other export sectors.
It was also informed that the oil and palm oil imports have put additional burden on the economy due to increase in their prices internationally. Country's exports have increased by 29 percent. Only textile sector have shown 88 percent increase in exports while remittances have increased by 11.3 percent, foreign exchange reserves grew from 17 billion to 24 billion dollars, tax collection rose by 32.5 percent and Foreign Direct Investment by 20 percent. He said private business credit increased by 267 percent and private sector so far received a loan of 904 billion rupees.
The Minister said Federal Cabinet has also approved amendments in Criminal Law. He said the suggested amendments will be sent to the Parliament for a legal framework. He said under new amendments courts are bound to decide a criminal case within 9 months and in case of any delay the prosecutor and the Judge will be asked to provide the reason of delay and the responsible will be held accountable. Under this law, Police is being given the power of bail and minimum education for the appointment of SHO will be B.A and that person should at least be a Sub Inspector.
The Cabinet also discussed the recent report of Transparency International that has not been published yet. It was informed that the Transparency International has decreased Pakistan's score on the basis of rule of law and issues related to state capture. Chaudhary Fawad Hussain said there is a need to improve rule of law as it is a constant process and every institution should play its role in this regard.
He said minimum indicative prices for tobacco was approved at the rate of 245 per kilogram, which will greatly benefit tobacco growers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the cabinet also approved the recommendations of the committee to remove the hurdles in way of installation of new electricity and gas meters in the federal capital.
The Minister for Information said the cabinet withdrew 45 percent duty on import of pine nuts from Afghanistan. It approved a compensation package of 11.6 million dollars for Chinese engineers died in a terrorist incident at Dasu.