No govt ads for social media journalists

Prices of 20 medicines slashed in January: Senate told

Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan on Tuesday said there was no plan under consideration to give advertisements to the social media journalists.

Responding to a supplementary question raised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ‘s (PTI) Senator Faisal Saleem Rehman, the state minister said that there were certain rules such as Public Procurement Regulatory Authority and Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority for providing government advertisements to the media houses. The state minister said that social media did not fall in the category of the said rules, adding that if the senators had some comprehensive policy in their mind, it should be discussed so the proposals could be forwarded to the quarters concerned.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, highlighting the vital role of media in public life, urged to make cultural programmes in a bid to protect the people from “foreign cultural invasion”.He flashed back to the past and quoted Pakistan Television’s (PTV) dramas as an example, which used to present the culture of all segments of society impacting positive results in people’s life. To this, Shahadat Awan said there were 68 channels in the country.

“There are certain private television channels telecasting programmes in the local languages and projecting the culture around the world,” he said. PTI’s Fida Muhammad Khan proposed to bring Pakistan Radio to par with international standards as it had been going down with the passage of time. Shahadat Awan said the measures were underway to make Radio Pakistan’s transmission more effective across the country.

To the basic question of Senator Mushtaq, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in a written reply, said as per Clause-14(6) of Electronic Media (Programmes and Advertisements) Code of Conduct, 2015, advertisements of lotteries, gambling or betting as prohibited under Pakistan Penal Code (Act XLV of 1860) or any other law for the time being in force shall not be aired. Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan on Tuesday informed the Senate that the Ministry of National Health and Regulation notified a decrease in prices of 20 essential medicines on January 13, 2023.

Responding to a Calling Attention Notice raised by Prof Dr Mehr Taj Roghani about the increase in prices of medicines, medical instruments and vaccines in the country, the minister said that the federal minister for National Health Abdul Qadir Patel should be appreciated for providing relief to the people. He said that the country’s witnessed a continuous increase in the prices of medicines during the period of 2018 to 2022 before the inception of the incumbent government.

He went on to say that after the Cabinet meeting, nine percent hike was made in the prices of 464 medicines in 2018 and 94 medicines in 2020 while prices of eight medicines were enhanced in 2021. The minister said that pharmaceutical companies have also requested that if raw materials for medicines were not released, it might face problems. Earlier, raising the Calling Attention Notice, Dr Mehra Taj pointed out the non-availability of drugs besides skyrocketing prices of it. Meanwhile, the House rejected the adjournment motion of Mohsin Aziz about the deteriorating economy, the lowest level of foreign reserves and continuous inflation. Some 25 senators voted against it while 19 supported it.

Minister of State for Law and Justice Shahadat Awan on Tuesday said the Senate did not have any housing society but parliamentarians had their quota in private housing schemes. Responding to a supplementary question, raised by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s Senator Fida Muhammad Khan, he made it clear that the Senate had not developed any housing society besides advising the parliamentarians to seek their due quota from the private housing schemes.