ISLAMABAD (APP): Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Tuesday said Pakistan would send coronavirus (COVID-19) and medical emergency relief assistance to Palestine on humanitarian grounds to mitigate sufferings of innocent people there.
The decision to this effect was taken in the Federal Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said while briefing the media persons.
He said the Cabinet thoroughly discussed the prevailing situation in Palestine and expressed deep concern and resentment over the plight of Palestinians.
He said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had gone to Turkey where he held meeting with his Turkish counterpart. He said foreign ministers of different Islamic countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Sudan and Palestine would leave for New York in a group-form to attend the special session of United Nations General Assembly on Palestine.
He said there was extreme resentment in the Muslim countries due to the sufferings of Palestinian people, adding PM Imran Khan from the day one, did provide a leadership role to the Ummah on the issue of Palestine.
Pakistan was the first country that took a strong, clear and unflinching stance on Palestine, he said. He pointed out that parameters of Pakistan’s policy on Palestine had been set by Quaid-e-Azam Muham-mad Ali Jinnah, adding “to-day PM Imran Khan is the custodian of that policy.”
He said Pakistan’s leading role in that regard was being acknowledged by the whole Ummah including the Palestinian leadership.
The minister said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan had said that whatever he had been thinking for Palestine in his heart and mind, it was exactly translated by PM Imran Khan in words. “It reflects that Imran Khan is playing a leading role for betterment of the Ummah.”
He said the Cabinet members had congratulated the PM on his recent successful visit to Saudi Arabia.
The Information Minister said the cabinet was also briefed on the issue of Rawalpindi Ring Road project based on reports gathered from the Punjab Government.
He said although the project had remained under discussion for the last several years, but it was originally conceived in 2017 to provide a separate passage to the heavy traffic that entered or passed through the Rawalpindi city. In 2018, he said, the initial alignment of the road was approved.
Giving background of the issue, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had received an anonymous message by someone, who claimed to be an engineer associated with the Ring Road project, that the road’s alignment had been changed especially at the Sanjgani point, which had narrowed the passage making it dangerous for vehicular movement.
Upon which, he said, the prime minister ordered an initial inquiry. When questioned the authorities concerned informed him (PM) that ‘no alignment had been changed’.
The PM, he said, had decided to hold an independent investigation into the matter and initial probe confirmed that not only the road alignment had been changed, but a 29-kilometer additional stretch also included in the project towards Attock to get the housing societies in the loop.
As a result of the investigation, Fawad said, billions of rupees’ embezzlement was avoided as under the new alignment additional land amounting to Rs 23 billion had to be acquired including a major portion in Attock. “Currently, Rs 2.3 billion has been paid for the land acquisition, but the amount will be taken back.”
“According to the initial report, the alignment has been changed to give benefit to some individuals, while addition of a 29-kilomtere stretch was made to benefit to some housing societies directly,” he said.