LAHORE - Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday called for recognising opposition’s role in the process of legislation and proposed establishment of a joint parliamentary body to evolve consensus on the issue of extension in the tenure of the incumbent army chief.

Addressing a press conference at PCSIR laboratory here, the federal minister also suggested that government should take the opposition on board on its economic policies.

“As a student of politics since 93, I personally believe that we should evolve a joint parliamentary mechanism to seek Opposition’s input on these two matters”, he stressed, adding that a broad consensus on national issues could not be achieved without Opposition’s cooperation.

Fawad Ch said that Government and the Opposition should join hands to work for future generations setting aside their political differences.

Responding to a question, he said stressed the need for making an arrangement among the institutions to ensure balance of power. In this regard, the minister proposed formation of a joint committee of both the houses jointly headed by the Prime Minister, Chief of Army Staff and Chief Justice of Pakistan to take the country forward.

Advocates power-sharing deal among institutions

“The prime minister has always spoken of the strengthening of institutions. This means that institutions should respect the authority and jurisdiction of one another, he added.

The Minister said that no single institution could solve country’s problems. “Unless we (institutions) strike a fresh deal, we will remain entangled in problems.”, he said.

Fawad Ch said that Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif had come up with some good names for new Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and the PTI would also bring forth credible names for the purpose. He hoped that an honourable individual would be appointed as the CEC and added that an independent election commission was one of the slogans of PTI.

Answering another question, he supported the movement for revival of students’ unions in educational institutions. “The student unions had a role in formation of Pakistan”, he said. He, however, said that student unions should not as mouthpiece of mainstream political parties.

To another question, he said both the Government and the Opposition were in unison to amend the NAB laws, but it required a thorough debate over which provisions should be removed.

He said that the government had also made efforts to change the energy scene, adding that Pakistan’s entire engineering sector suffered a lot as the country could not manufacture a combustion engine over the last 30 years. But today, the government was focused on revamping the system by setting up targets, he added.

Talking about country’s energy requirements in future, the Minister said Pakistan would be able to manufacture solar panels within next one-and-a-half years.  “We would also be manufacturing lithium batteries”, he said, adding that future was of lithium batteries and the world had now switched over to powerful lithium batteries. He said Pakistan should also make use of these batteries because new innovative technologies would change the entire power distribution system within next 10 to 15 years.

He claimed that Pakistan would become the first country in South Asia manufacturing solar panels and lithium batteries which would be the basis of our advancement in the field of science and technology. Pakistan would again be the first in South Asia introducing battery-operated buses, as two Chinese companies in Pakistan were at final stage to manufacture such buses, which would also be operated in Lahore and other major cities. They would help overcome problems of smog and air pollution. Similarly, locally manufactured battery-operated motorbikes and rickshaws would soon take over the market, he disclosed.

Fawad said that the PTI government was also working to ensure local manufacturing of various vaccines including rabies, while an international level Herbal Medicine Park was also being developed in Jhelum. Federal Minister also said that government was focussing on bio-technology to ensure its contribution to GDP up to four per cent and increasing its exports to US$4 billion within next 10 years.

He said that Pakistan could not overcome deficit through wheat, cotton and textile products alone.

 That was why, the government was focusing on innovative technologies in every field, he added.

The federal minister said that the process to shortlist astronauts for Pakistan’s first Space Mission-2022 would be initiated by February 2020, asserting that the country would send its first space mission in collaboration with China.