MULTAN - Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that two separate South Punjab secretariats will be set up in Multan and Bahawalpur as the notification for creation of secretariats in both the cities has been issued by the government.

While addressing news conference here at Circuit House on Saturday, he added that there was no ambiguity in this issue now and those creating hurdles in the way of secretariats would fail.

He said that the decision regarding capital of the province would be made by the Assembly of the province when it would be set up. He said that both Additional Chief Secretary and Additional IG performed their duties as per law. “Now there is no need

 to take any file to Lahore. All issues relating to South Punjab will be resolved here,” he claimed.

The federal minister said that there was no progress in the creation of province during last 70 years despite efforts made by Taj Langah and others. “Instead the PML (N) tried to divide the masses on the South Punjab issue while PPP made the creation even difficult through legislation,” he maintained. He said that it was PTI that made the province part of its manifesto and the credit for progress in this regard went to Imran Khan. He disclosed that he had requested the Chief Minister Punjab to set up a separate Public Service Commission for South Punjab while the decision to publish separate budget book for this region had also been made.

 

“Now the budget for this region cannot be shifted to Lahore or any other area,” he added. He said that the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations was coming to Pakistan on his invitation on Sunday (today) and he would be briefed on the situation of Indian held Kashmir before the start of 75th meeting of the assembly. He added that one year of imposition of curfew in Kashmir by India would complete on August 5. He said that it was our responsibility to contest the case of Kashmiris on international forum. He lamented that Indian occupation forces did not give poor Kashmiris access to even healthcare facilities and medicines during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and they were banned from going to mosques. He said that India continuously violated Line of Control and murdered innocent citizens.

 

Referring to FATF, he said that India made all out treacherous attempts to get Pakistan blacklisted but the government took all necessary steps including legislation to thwart Indian conspiracies and bring Pakistan out of grey list. He disclosed that the government had handed over a bill containing eight points regarding FATF and one NAB to the opposition. He warned, “We would have to face serious consequences if any delay was made in legislation.” He hoped that the upcoming round of talks with opposition on Monday would deliver good results.

 

He said that both the PPP and PML (N) accomplished their five year terms but they did not amend NAB laws. “Now both the parties want us to do amendments. If they want so, we are ready,” he added. He said that the draft of the bills had been handed over to the opposition and they had Saturday and Sunday to ponder over them. “In larger national interest I expect that we will be on the same page,” he expressed his hope. He said that the PTI wanted a corruption free Pakistan and for the sake of this target he was ready to talk to everyone with open heart.

 

About coronavirus, he said that the experts had anticipated that about 50000 people would die and 1.2 million cases would be registered till now but the estimates turned out wrong, Thanks to Allah. He claimed that Pakistan remained intact due to government’s policy and the smart lockdown strategy worked.

“Now there is a continuous decline in COVID-19 cases and mortalities but if we exhibited negligence on Eid and Muharram the situation can go out of control,” he warned. He urged upon the masses to observe SOPs on Eid and Muharram. He also asked Ulema to get implemented SOPs during Muharram. He declared that the chances of opening schools, colleges, restaurants and other business activities would brighten if the situation improved.