Court’s decision against Nawaz not to affect election: Ali Zafar

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Zafar leaves for India to represent Pakistan in last rites of Vajpayee

LAHORE: Caretaker Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National Heritage and Energy Syed Ali Zafar Sunday said the accountability court decision against former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz would not affect holding of the general election on time.
There was no provision in the Constitution regarding postponement of the election, which would be held on July 25, 2018 as per schedule, he said during ‘Meet the Press Programme’ here at Lahore Press Club.
Answering a question, the minister said they (Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz) would be arrested on their return to Pakistan, if they were not provided any relief by the court. It was a responsibility of everyone to obey the court orders, he added.
He said law was equal for everyone. As per the Constitution, the government should not interfere into the working of institutions, rather it was responsible to implement the court decisions instead of criticising the same. He assured that the caretaker federal government would never influence the institutions, including the judiciary and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).
To another question, Ali Zafar said Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar would be arrested after completion of all legal requirements and the relevant institutions were working in that regard. The government was extending all possible help to NAB, he added.
Regarding reports of placing names of Asif Ali Zardari and his sister on the Exit Control List (ECL), he said it was the government’s responsibility to assess each and every case in that regard in the light of rules and regulations.
He said the committee formed by the interim government on the ECL had discussed around 60 cases and sent its recommendations to the Federal Cabinet for a final decision.
Responding to a query, he said the name of Zulfi Bokhari was included in the ‘black list’, which was a temporary arrangement at the Interior Secretary’s level. Had his name included in the ECL, he could not have gone abroad without the cabinet’s permission, he added.
About the media access to polling stations and booths, the minister said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had prepared the Code of Conduct for the polling day, and so far two meetings had been held with the ECP in that connection. The government was making efforts to ensure access of the local and foreign media to the polling process, besides facilitating the foreign election observers, he added.
About the water issues, Ali Zafar said despite climate change, water was available in three main rivers of the country, but unfortunately, only two mega dams had been built since inception of Pakistan, contrary to the 1965 water report that suggested construction of 14 to 20 dams.
He stressed the need for building new water reservoirs, adding that other countries spent 20 to 25 per cent of their development budget on the water sector, but Pakistan allocated only five to seven per cent on that count.
He said 90 per cent of the water available in the country was consumed by the agricultural sector. He called for adopting modern and efficient water usage techniques under the concept of ‘drop for a crop’ to conserve maximum water. “Similarly, we also use drinking water for sewerage and other purposes as well; therefore, we should adopt sewerage water treatment method to use that water for other purposes,” he added.
He said he had compiled a list of water experts across Pakistan and made contacts with them, who had sought a one-month time to provide him a guideline document to solve the country’s water problems.
The minister said there was a tough competition between print and social media; however, the young generation mostly relied on the social media, which also had fake and concocted material/news stories. The print media could counter the social media and restore its credibility by relying only on the true and fact-based news stories, he added.

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