Information and Broadcasting Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam’s victory in the first phase of local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is “unfortunate”.

This will spell the country’s “downfall” as a party “that is against women’s rights and is a supporter of extremist policies when it comes to religion” has won the local body elections, Fawad said, while addressing a post-cabinet meeting press conference.

He said it was the country’s “misfortune that a party that should have been dismantled” won in the local body polls because of “our mistakes”.

“Due to administrative problems, we suffered some set back in the local body elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” Fawad maintained, adding that the PTI is “the only national (level) party in the country”.

He said parties like the JUI could not be considered a substitute for the PTI, whereas the PML-N and the PPP “had no place” in national politics.

“Imran Khan is the leader of the federation. It is important for the leadership and workers of the PTI to put aside their differences and strengthen Imran Khan,” Fawad said.

“Without Imran Khan, Pakistan’s politics would disintegrate,” he added.

The opposition parties, particularly the JUI, have taken lead in Khyber Pakhtunkwa’s ongoing local body elections, leaving PTI behind, according to unofficial results.

The ruling party could not grab a single mayor seat, winning in only one tehsil in Peshawar out of six tehsils.

Replying to a question about PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, the minister said that she “does not have much of a political standing”.

About former president Asif Ali Zardari’s recent speech in Nawabshah where he slammed the government’s policies, Fawad said: “If they even see the potential of a deal, all of them rush with their polish.”

On the economic front, Fawad said indicators show a positive trajectory and stability due to the “prudent policies” of the government.

The minister said that opportunities for wealth creation are on the rise in the country, with the textile, information technology, agriculture, and other sectors performing well.

He said direct taxes have seen a 31 percent surge, adding that all the crops have witnessed record production resulting in additional income of Rs1,100 billion to farmers.

Cotton recorded an increase of 19.5 percent, rice 4.8 percent, and sugarcane 8.7 percent, he added.

The minister said consumption of electricity and diesel grew by 13 percent and 26 percent respectively.

About the increase in current expenditure, the minister said it was because of the expenses incurred on procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and payment of Rs134 billion to Independent Power Producers.


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