Published On: Mon, Dec 2nd, 2019
Published in Category: Lahore

Fawad proposes joint parliamentary committee for consensus on Army Act, economic policies

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LAHORE: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday proposed the establishment of a joint parliamentary committee so consensus can be formed on the issues of amendment in the Army Act and on economic policies. He said that some elements politicized the issue of the extension in the tenure of the Army Chief. He stressed on the need of laying the foundation of a ‘new contract among the state institutions. Fawad Chaudhry said that there should not be any confrontation among the institutions and they should work within their constitutional parameters. He said that both the Prime Minister and the Army Chief want to see the civil institutions strong.

While addressing a press conference in Lahore on Sunday, Fawad Hussain said that the Chief Justice of Pakistan advised us for holding a dialogue on the issue of the extension in the army chief’s service, so we decided to ponder over it.

“As a student of politics since 93, my personal opinion is that we should have a joint parliamentary committee which should immediately decide on the two matters.

“There is no doubt that the opposition’s role should be recognised. Without them, a wider consensus regarding institutions cannot be achieved,” said the federal minister.

Fawad Chaudhry, referring to the Supreme Court verdict on the extended appointment of army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, said that “a good atmosphere” had now been created in the country.

“The prime minister has always spoken of the strengthening of institutions and of course this has meant asking that institutions respect the authority and balance of one another.”

The minister proposed that the above mentioned personalities — Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khan Khosa — oversee the committee. “And with the help of media, a consensus on the two matters should immediately be formed.”

“A consensus on these two matters is of extreme importance for Pakistan. And any problem that besets Pakistan can not be solved solely by a single institution,” Fawad Chaudhry added.

The minister said that he knows the prime minister “closely” and does not aim to “make political statements”, but that prime minister does have the people’s best interests at heart.

“I know for a fact that his heart beats with the people. He wishes to make a new Pakistan. He has no personal agenda, he doesn’t want to amass wealth and is not interested in power. He actually wishes to bring change.

“But for that to take place, unless we bring balance in our institutions, unless we strike a fresh deal, we will remain entangled in problems.”

Speaking of the future of Pakistan, the minister said that political differences must be cast aside, “if we wish to leave a stable Pakistan for our future generations”.

In the same vein, he spoke of the recently held countrywide ‘Student Solidarity March’ which had demanded the restoration of student unions. Expressing his support for the movement, the minister said that the very foundation of Pakistan rests on student unions.

“Pakistan was formed due to student union activities. When the Muslim Student Federation was established in Aligarh University, and later on in Islamia College, the entire movement for Pakistan run by students.”

He said that whereas General Ziaul Haq in his tenure had made many mistakes, one of them was the ban on student unions.

“Student unions are the backbone of any democracy. But, there must be some safeguards in place. Student unions must not be allowed to be used by mainstream political parties for gang-like violent activities. Neither should we allow the unions to become a blackmailing mafia like in other places.”

Fawad Chaudhry said that all the leading institutions in the world have student unions. “We can’t ban them but we can’t have them engage in hooliganism either.”

The science and technology minister said that the country’s first space mission would be launched in 2022, for which shortlisting for the astronaut would be done by the air force in February next year.

“In 2022, with the cooperation of China, our first astronaut will be launched into space,” he said.

The minister said that in this year’s budget, a 600-fold increase had been made for science and technology. “By next June we will increase it by 1000 times.”

He said that after a prolonged period of time, Pakistan was now reentering the international scene for technology and research.

The minister said a “ministerial committee” had been formed during his last visit to China. He said a similar committee with Russia was also expected to be formed shortly, after which the focus will shift to European Union and the United States. “Unless and until we have international collaboration, we cannot move forward.”

He said that measures are underway to promote solar energy in the country and preparation of solar panels in the country will be started very soon. He said the government is trying the utmost to introduce modern technology in the country.

He said that electric-powered vehicles will be introduced in the country and hybrid electric buses will be plied in order to curb smog and pollution.

The Minister said hybrid vehicles including rickshaws will be manufactured in Pakistan with the cooperation of China. Fawad Chaudhry said we can increase our agri output by utilizing modern methods of agriculture.

He said that the vaccines of snake and dog biting will be made in the country rather than importing it from India and in this regard, a herbal medicine plant is being set up near Jehlum on three hundred acres of land.