Federal Cabinet rejects Interior Ministry recommendations on ECL

 Islamabad: Federal Cabinet Thursday rejected recommendations of the Interior Ministry to remove names of twenty suspects from the Exit Control List in the fake bank accounts case. This was stated by Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain while addressing a news briefing along with Minister for Statistics Khusro Bakhtiar about Federal Cabinet’s decisions in Islamabad. He said the Law Ministry informed the cabinet that no formal or written verdict has yet been issued by the Supreme Court on the subject so any further proceedings about the ECL issue should be deferred for the time being. He said since the list includes the names of several Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) bigwigs and others who are directly involved in fake bank accounts and money laundering matters, the cabinet decided to constitute a committee to review the matter. He said the committee will include Minister for Law and Justice Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem, Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and the Interior Secretary Azam Suleman Khan. He said the cabinet decided that Supreme Court may also be approached for a review appeal on this count after receiving a report from the concerned committee on the ECL issue. Fawad Chaudhry said the cabinet noted with satisfaction that the countries’ exports increased by 4.5 percent during the month of December while the trade deficit reduced up to five hundred forty million dollars, having a very pleasant impact on the national economy. He said it was the outcome of Prime Minister and his economic team’s extensive and prudent efforts to deal with the current account and fiscal deficit issues with the active support of friendly countries. He said government’s efforts to boost exports and reduce imports have also been fruitful. He said government is also endeavoring to provide ease of doing business to the foreign and local investors to promote economic activities and create jobs. The Minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Law Ministry to provide him the negative category list about overseas Pakistanis within forty eight hours, enabling the government to take a policy decision at the earliest to provide all possible facilities to those expatriates who want to bring investment in different sectors in Pakistan. He said the Ministry of Petroleum was directed to come out with a comprehensive plan to address the gas shortage problem in the country. Fawad Chaudhry said the cabinet regretted that the gas worth fifty billion rupees is being pilfered annually from the system and the previous government took no remedial measures to address this alarming situation. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning, Development & Reform & Statistics Division Khusro Bakhtiar rejected the opposition parties’ baseless propaganda about the price hike of different essential commodities. Quoting the data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, the Minster said the inflation in PPP’s first five months rule was registered at 11.2 percent and in PML-N’s tenure it was four percent while in PTI’s first five months the inflation rate remained just point four percent. Khusro Bakhtiar said the Prime Minster directed to evolve a coordinated price control mechanism at the federal and provincial levels to check profiteering and hoarding. He said the Prime Minister also directed to provide all possible relief to the low income segments of the society as per PTI’s election manifesto.