Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that the federal government had taken steps to allay United Kingdom’s fears regarding coronavirus in order to get out of travel restrictions imposed on Pakistan.
Addressing media after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, he said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan had spoken to chief medical scientist of UK regarding Pakistan’s coronavirus testing mechanism.
“We hope the British government will review its policy in a couple of weeks,” Fawad said.
Pakistan was retained on the “red list” in the latest review of the country’s travel ban, despite a diplomatic offensive by several top government officials.
The British government said that it had decided to keep Pakistan on the travel ban red list because the true number of COVID-19 cases are likely much higher than reported across the country, a leaked letter written by Britain’s health minister revealed.
Fawad said a suggestion was given to the federal cabinet for the revival of cinema industry.
The federal cabinet refused permission to show Indian films, the minister said, adding that his ministry would present an amended proposal soon.
“In the proposal, we will seek permission to allow foreign movies in Pakistan. In the 1970s we had 780 cinemas and the number has reduced to 78. If we don’t take immediate steps for the film and cinema industry’s revival, it will collapse.”
The minister said practical steps had been taken and a package for the film and cinema industry would be announced next week.
About Remdesivir, a drug used to treat COVID-19 patients, Fawad said it’s price had been lowered from Rs5,680 to Rs3,967.
He said a detailed discussion was held on electoral reforms and Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan, Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz and Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Amin-ul-Haq briefed the cabinet.
Fawad said that no government had proposed electoral reforms except the PTI. “Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N has never won an election without rigging, which is why they are not interested in changing the system.”
“Maryam Nawaz and Bilawal can become the prime ministers in case Pakistan’s fortunes take a turn for the worst or there is intense rigging, there is no other way for them to become prime ministers,” he said.
The information minister said no Opposition member has held talks with the government over electronic voting machines, nor have they reviewed the bills in this regard.
He said the PML-N and the PPP politics revolved around getting extensions in the hearings of their cases, so the court does not decide against them.
“The world is talking about Afghanistan, but the PPP and the PML-N have not given their stance on how to handle the refugee crisis,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that Benazir Bhutto’s party is now in the hands of jokers,” he remarked.
Replying to a question about PML-N leader Javed Latif, he said he was a “political joker and an attention seeker, as he keeps making attempts to get the army’s support”.