ISLAMABAD - The Federal Cabinet has decided to seek guidance of Supreme Court of Pakistan regarding holding the upcoming Senate elections through show of hands.

The meeting of the federal Cabinet was held on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

The Federal Cabinet decided that a reference in this regard will be filed with the apex court by the Attorney General under Article 186 of the Constitution.

Prime Minister emphasised that the legal reforms are aimed at only ensuring transparency in the election process.

He said we are open for dialogue with all the political parties on the matter. Later briefing the media persons about the Cabinet decisions, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz said our aim is to ensure transparent and credible elections of the Upper House.

He said a bill has also been introduced in the Parliament regarding the Senate elections with the aim to check the horse trading. He said it is also in the interest of all political parties so that only those candidates who are nominated by the parties come to the House and that the parties get the seats as per their strength in the electoral college.

He said a report of Inquiry Commission into the shortage of petroleum products that hit the country earlier this year was also presented before the Cabinet on Tuesday.

Information Minister said the Prime Minister has constituted a committee headed by Minister for Planning Asad Umar to fix the responsibility on those behind the crisis.

PTI-led govt wants Senate elections early

Other members of the committee are Shafqat Mahmood, Shireen Mazari and Azam Swati.

The Committee will put forward its recommendations in the next Cabinet meeting.

He said the Cabinet has stressed that a mechanism be evolved to ensure transparency and accountability not only in the funds spent by the provinces but also encourage them to raise their own revenues.

He said Prime Minister was also informed about the Covid relief fund currently has an amount of Rs 4.866 billion.

About Rs 1.081 billion have been contributed by the international donors whilst domestic donors have donated Rs 3.805 billion in the fund.

On the directions of the Prime Minister, the federal government has enhanced this amount to Rs 24.43 billion, he added.

He said Imran Khan directed the provincial governments and Islamabad Administration to review the establishment of Handcart (Rehri) bazaars so that the livelihoods of the poor people are not affected by the Covid-19.

Information Minister said, seeing all these things, it could be understood, why people rejected the narrative of PDM and their Lahore Jalsa failed miserably.

He said nation has witnessed that hype which was made on Lahore PDM Jalsa which failed miserably.

People have rejected their narrative and 11 parties failed to gather a large crowed, he said.

He said on the issue of resignations, PDM alliance is scattered and distributed as all factions of PDM want to secure their vested interests on priority.

He said all these leaders are not even on one page.

He said they all have their vested agendas as Mehmood Khan Achakzai has his own personal agenda.

In Lahore, Achakzai narrated and accused Lahoris while in Quetta, Norrani narrated a different story, he added.

He said in Gujranwala Nawaz Sharif presented his agenda while in Karachi Safdar humiliated sanctity of Quaid’s mausoleum.

Earlier, Finance Ministry briefed the federal Cabinet on allocation of funds from federation to provinces.

The Cabinet was also informed on monetary resources of the provinces in detail.

The Cabinet was informed that in accordance of 7th National Monetary Commission Award a total volume with ratio of 42.5 per cent for federation and 57.5 per cent is distributed among provinces.

It was also stated that from 2018-19, Rs 2.4 trillion were transferred from federal government to provinces and in the very fiscal year, the provinces accumulate Rs 496 billion from their own resources.

Meanwhile, during fiscal year 2019-20, the federal government transferred Rs 2.6 trillion to provinces and provinces got Rs 524 billion from their resources.

During first five months of fiscal year 2020-21, the federal government has transferred Rs106 trillion while in the very period, the provinces got Rs 226 billion from their own resources.

The Federal Cabinet was also informed that federation also use to provide financial assistance to provinces in view of peace and security, natural calamities, health, education, Ehsas Programme and development projects.

It was also revealed that federal government used to provide subsidies to provinces on electricity, gas bills  and other commodities for social protection.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Social Protection And Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar briefed the federal Cabinet on payments through Ehsas Programme, Ehsas National Socioeconomic Survey and PM Covid Relief Fund.

The Federal Cabinet was also informed that in erstwhile survey of Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation; there were lots of ambiguities and mistakes, which caused issues to provide monetary assistance to deserving people.

 The new survey is in completion process and it is being finalised by checking deserving people door to door campaign.

The Special Assistant to Prime Minister also stated that Ehsas Programme will provide monetary assistance to 7 million people in the country and of this, monetary assistance has been provided to 2.3 million  people in the country while 31543 non deserving people have been removed from database.

Prime minister also directed provincial governments to establish handcart bazars to facilitate the people in wake of coronavirus pandemic.

The Federal Cabinet was also informed on report of Metropolitan Club Islamabad usage.

The Cabinet directed to submit the report regarding utilisation of buildings and recommendations in this regard in next meeting.

The Cabinet approved appointment of Ali Javed Hamdani as Managing Director Sui Northern Gas Pipeline limited.

The Cabinet also approved appointment of board of directors for Public Private Partnership authority.

The Cabinet also approved appointment of five community welfare attaches in different Pakistani Embassies.

The Cabinet approved appointment of General Akhtar Nawaz as Chairman National Disaster Management Authority.

The Cabinet approved appointment for CEOs of power distribution companies in the country.

The Cabinet approved restructuring of trustees of Employees Old age Benefits Institutions.

The Cabinet approved appointment of Asim Sheharyar as Chief Executive Officer of National Technology Fund for three years tenure.

The Federal Cabinet was also briefed in detail on findings of inquiry report about scarcity of petroleum products in the country.