Information minister reiterates PTI-led government’s stance of blaming previous governments for rampant inflation
Local government elections in the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces will be conducted using electronic voting machines (EVMs), Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain announced on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s core committee, he said that local government elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa would be held in 17 districts on Dec. 19, adding that 37,752 candidates were participating. Of these, he said, 689 candidates were contesting the slot of village chairmen and tehsil mayors, while 19,282 were contesting for spots on neighborhood councils. He could not explain how EVMs—currently the country only has one “prototype” developed by the Science and Technology ministry—could possibly be deployed in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in this situation.
The information minister claimed that the Punjab Local Government Bill would be approved within a few days, and also dismissed questions over the potential cost of EVMs, claiming that they would prove cheaper than existing methods. Fawad had, in 2018, likewise claimed it was cheaper for the prime minister to utilize a helicopter to fly between his home and the prime minister’s office rather than a car.
According to Fawad, the PTI’s core committee—presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan—also discussed the issue of ongoing inflation and hailed the statistically negligible 0.67 percent decrease in the Sensitive Price Index. Claiming that the public would get relief “soon”, he reiterated the government’s stance that the current bout of inflation was a result of the “devastating” policies of previous governments; by contrast, the finance adviser has been repeatedly blaming global commodity prices for it.
The information minister said the government had renewed calls for the Sindh and Balochistan governments to join the federal government’s Ehsaas Ration and Sehat Card initiatives, adding that Quetta had agreed to join and contribute to the social welfare programs, but Sindh had not.
He claimed the center was persuading the Sindh government to join the federal government in implementing welfare programs in the province, alleging that they were reluctant to do so because there were “fewer chances of receiving personal gains from the program.”