The federal cabinet on Thursday decided to keep the names of 172 persons on the exit control list (ECL) until release of detailed verdict by the Supreme Court on the matter.Speaking at a press conference, Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said the government would further consider the issue after the detailed verdict of the apex court and would decide whether it should file a review petition or not. Briefing media on the cabinet decisions along with Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar, Fawad said the top leadership of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) including Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur and Murad Ali Shah were allegedly involved in the fake accounts case. “The money reportedly went from Murad Ali Shah to the Omni Group then to the PPP leaders, and billions of rupees were spent on buying of properties in Dubai and London,” he claimed.The minister said the report of the joint investigation team (JIT) came in 2018 and it recommended 172 names for putting on the ECL. The scandal of sending money abroad from Sindh to foreign countries surfaced in 2015, he added. The federal cabinet turned town the recommendation of the Interior Ministry to remove names of 20 persons from the exit control list in the fake bank accounts case. The cabinet decided to constitute a committee including State Minister for Interior Shehryar Afridi, Minister for Law Farogh Naseem and Special Assistant to PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar to further look into the matter. The committee will review the issues pertaining to the 172 names, looking at the roles of each person, following which it would present its recommendations to the cabinet.It is pertinent to mention here that the Supreme Court had earlier this week ordered the authorities concerned to take some names, including those of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, off the no-fly list. Fawad said the cabinet noted with satisfaction that the country’s exports increased by 4.5 percent during the month of December, imports reduced which curtailed the trade deficit by up to $450 million and had a positive impact on the economy.He said the efforts of the government had an impact on the current account deficit and the friendly countries also lent support to the government. The loans of banks to private sector rose by Rs 504 billion and loans to deposits ratio also grew, he added.He said the prime minister ordered the Ministry of Law to create a negative category list to determine the eligibility of overseas Pakistanis for jobs in government sector. Prime Minister Imran Khan has strong affiliation with overseas Pakistanis and he wants to create extensive opportunities for them, he added.The minister said the PM has instructed petroleum ministry to prepare a comprehensive plan to overcome gas shortages in the country. “About 28 percent of citizens are using system gas while 63 percent use LPG cylinders. The losses of gas sector have increased to Rs 177 billion and Rs 50 billion of gas is being stolen due to bad decisions of the last government,” he said, adding that the prime minister was amazed at the use of 44,000 units of electricity in the Prime Minister House and ordered the audit of use of electricity by his staff.In the tenure of the previous government, 95,000 units of electricity were consumed in the Prime Minister House.He said Air Marshal Arshad Malik was the acting chief executive of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) while an advertisement has been issued to appoint a person on the permanent basis. Secretary Aviation Shahrukh was given the additional charge of Director General Aviation.Minister for Planning and Statistics Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said opposition was not justified in raising hue and cry about price hike as according to verifiable figures of the Bureau of Statistics, inflation rose to 11.2 percent and 9.1 percent respectively in the first months of the PPP and PML-N governments. He said the PTI government inherited average inflation rate of 5.8 percent and it rose to 6.2 percent by December. He said the government had decided to chalk out a communication strategy to make the people updated about latest prices of each and every commodity so that the profiteers and hoarders should be discouraged to exploit people due to their ignorance about the current prices of the commodities.He said during the cabinet meeting, the prime minister has directed to prepare a strict price control mechanism at the provincial level to ensure that the people get the commodities on the prescribed rates. He said the Consumer Price Index and Sensitive Price Index have come down for low-income groups having salary from Rs 17,000 to Rs 77,000 per month.Fawad said in the 8th Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC held in Beijing last month, the two countries signed cooperation agreements in the fields of agriculture, industrialization, and socio economic development. “We have nine Specialized Economic Zones and we want to focus on initiating work on these economic zones as early as possible,” he said.Published in Daily Times, January 11th 2019.