PPP taking all on board for peace in Karachi: Firdous

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KARACHI – Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan Sunday expressed the government’s determination to take on board all the stakeholders, including political parties, civil society, media and law enforcement agencies to collectively evolve a consensus for improving law and order in Karachi.
Addressing a press conference, Awan, who was flanked by Secretary Information Taimur Azmat Usman, said although law and order was a provincial subject yet the federal government could play the role of a facilitator to strengthen the capacity of provinces. She said that Karachi was a trading hub and economic lifeline of the country, which made it essential to maintain law and order in the mega city.
The federal minister said the PPP and the MQM were coalition partners in Sindh and the political parties had to sit together for finding a solution to resolve the problem. She was confident that they were capable of achieving the aim and the federal government would supplement and facilitate their efforts.
Responding to a question, she said the people have to share the burden of oil price increase as the government was paying Rs 5 billion in subsidy each month; however, the government could not bear the shock any longer because of absence of fiscal space.
She warned that inflation would go up if the government started printing notes. Replying to a question about the NFC Award, she said the provinces would get their share according to the agreed and defined formula. “These are quarter releases and can be delayed for procedural requirements,” she observed.
Replying to a question about energy shortage, she said the government was adopting three pronged strategy to handle the crisis and had been utilising potential of alternative means of energy and hydel power, besides the restructuring and rehabilitation of the existing power distribution network.
She further said the prime minister would soon perform the ground-breaking of the much-awaited Bhasha Diamer Dam, adding that the government was targeting to generate 5,000MW of electricity through Thar coal within two years while wind and solar energy options were also being explored besides engaging Iran, Turkmenistan, Qatar and Kuwait to get natural gas for power generation.
She said the government did not make any comment on the Supreme Court’s verdict on the appointment of chairman National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “The government’s legal team is working on the subject to come out with its stance within the ambit of law and Constitution,” she added. Referring to the budget preparation and passage from the Parliament, she said the government enjoyed sufficient majority to get it done.
“We had, in the past, got passed three budgets with consensus,” she noted. She said the government would complete all the constitutional requirements without taking any action which could harm national interest. Talking of population census, she said the exercise would be carried out simultaneously in all the provinces. Regarding the payments for the flood affectees, she said the provinces and the federation had separate responsibilities as decided by the Council of Common Interest (CCI).