Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry recently revealed that Arab rulers who presented gifts to the Prime Minister (PM) of Pakistan “did not want their names to be made public”.

While speaking on Geo News programme ‘Jirga’ with senior journalist Saleem Safi on Sunday, Fawad stated, “Previously, the heads of the government were allowed to take gifts after paying 15 per cent of the actual price.”

“Vehicles were considered personal gifts, but former president Asif Ali Zardari changed the law for personal interest,” he added while criticising the past governments.

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Talking about the local elections in the country, the minister admitted that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s biggest failure was “not holding local body elections” in Pakistan. Moreover, he said that the local bodies, formed by former Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif, were not effective and could not be restored on a technical basis.

He added that PM insisted on having elections but members within the party, including Chief Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar, didn’t agree to it.

He further said that a review petition against the restoration of the local bodies is being heard in the Supreme Court (SC).

Chaudhry said that the government has no personal rivalry with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) but the election body directly attacked the PM during the Senate polls.

Furthermore, he revealed a total of 0.6 million Election Voting Machines (EVM) will be required for the upcoming general elections of 2023.

Previously, the federal government denied giving out information about the exchange of gifts between the premier and other heads of state. They mentioned in a notice that the matter is reflective of inter-state relations and the disclosure of such information potentially damages the interest of Pakistan in the context of international relations.