Provinces asked to prepare comprehensive plan to strictly deal with elements involved in adulteration of edibles : Firdous

ISLAMABAD:Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the provinces to make a comprehensive plan to stop the elements involved in adulteration of edibles items, besides taking strict action against them.

Talking to news persons outside Parliament House, she said that while chairing a high-level meeting attended by representatives from all four provinces to control inflation, adulteration, and hoarding, the Prime Minister asked them to make adulteration-free Pakistan a topmost priority.

She said that the prime minister was informed that over all prices of edible items including flour, sugar, rice, pulses and edible oil remained stable in the country.

However, she said that prime minister expressed his reservations over price of wheat flour in Karachi. She said that PASCO has issued 400,000 tonnes of wheat to Sindh and the province whereas it was demanding 100,000 tonnes more wheat from the strategic stock.

Directing Balochistan government to take strict action against elements involved in adulteration in edibles items and asked for establishment of a food testing laboratory there as at present no lab was available in the province, she said.

She said that the prime minister also issued directions for Food Price Monitoring and National Demand Supply Cell to ensure better coordination among the centre and provinces in future.

Talking about the Citizens Protection [against Online Harm] Rules 2020, she said these rules were necessary for stopping online propaganda against national solidarity and spread of hate material on the basis of religion and cast etc. She said so far, for removal of objectionable material on social media the government had to appeal to the social media companies.

Dr Firdous said that so far there was no mechanism in Pakistan for regulation of social media, which was being used to spread material against socio-cultural and religious values of Pakistan. She said there rules were prepared for protection of ideological and geographical boundaries of the countries and rights of the consumers .

She said that after implementation of these rules the social media companies would be bound to remove objectionable material within 6 to 24 hours. They would be bound to open their offices in Pakistan, get themselves registered here and share their data bank with Pakistan, she said.

She rubbished the claim that these rules were being made to impose restrictions on freedom of expression of social media and said that these rules were prepared for facilitation of the consumers and for protection of national interest. She said that for violation of relevant rules the social media companies could be banned in Pakistan, however they will have right of appeal in High Court against the decision of the concerned authority.

She said after implementation of these rules, the payment of millions of dollars to social media companies would also be regulated through a mechanism.