–Federal minister says political differences must be cast aside for national stability
–Says student unions are ‘backbone of democracy’ but they must be regulated
ISLAMABAD: In a bid to resolve differences with the opposition parties and to form a consensus on various issues, ranging from the amendment in the Army Act and certain economic policies, Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry proposed that a joint parliamentary committee should be formed.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, the federal minister said that the opposition’s role is imperative for democracy, it’s not possible to achieve a wider consensus regarding state institutions without its input.
“Political differences must be cast aside if we wish to leave a stable Pakistan for our future generations,” he added.
He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to strengthen the institutions and this includes asking them to respect the authority and balance of one another. “No single institution can solve the problems confronting Pakistan alone,” he added.
Talking about the Supreme Court’s (SC) decision of approving PM’s notification of extending Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa’s term, he said that it has created a good atmosphere in the country.
He said that PM Imran, COAS Bajwa and Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa should oversee the committee and with the help of media, a consensus on the two matters should immediately be formed.
“It is essential to form a consensus on these matters because these issues are of extreme importance to the country,” he added. “Unless we bring balance in our institutions, unless we strike a fresh deal, we will remain entangled in problems,” he further said.
Fawad said that the prime minister only wants the best for the people. “I know him closely and he does not aim to make political statements, but rather his heart beats with the people and he genuinely wants to create a ‘Naya Pakistan’ to bring better change,” he said, adding that the premier does not have a personal agenda nor does he want to gather wealth and power.
Speaking about the rights of students and the countrywide ‘Student Solidarity March’ which demanded the restoration of student unions, the federal minister said that he fully supports the movement since he believes that student unions laid the foundation of the country.
“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 was run by students,” he added.
He also criticised former military dictator General Ziaul Haq’s decision of banning student unions across the country, saying that he made many mistakes and this was one of them. “Although student unions are the backbone of democracy, there must be some regulations to prevent their misuse by mainstream political parties for violence or their evolution into blackmailing mafia,” he said, adding that all leading institutions in the world have student unions and the only way to go about this is to regulate them instead of banning them.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY:
The federal minister 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.
Fawad said the government is trying the utmost to introduce modern technology in the country and electric-powered vehicles will be introduced in the country and hybrid electric buses will be plied in order to curb smog and pollution. “Hybrid vehicles, including rickshaws, will be manufactured in Pakistan with the cooperation of China,” he said. He also said that Pakistan can increase its agricultural output by utilising modern techniques.
Fawad said that after a prolonged period of time, Pakistan was now reentering the international scene for technology and research. A ministerial committee had been formed during his last visit to China and a similar committee with Russia is also expected to be formed shortly, after which the focus will shift to European Union (EU) and the United States (US),” he said, adding that unless and until Pakistan collaborates with international bodies, it cannot move forward.
Fawad 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 added.
He also said that the vaccines for snake and dog bites will be made in the country rather than importing them from India and in this regard, an herbal medicine plant is being set up near Jehlum on 300 acres of land.
The minister further 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 1,000 times.”