Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz Friday asked the opposition parties to act responsibly and put off their campaign for vested interests as the ongoing second wave of the coronavirus is turning dangerous. Addressing a press conference here along with Advisor to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain, he said the people, who came in rallies from all parts of the country, became carriers of the coronavirus. The provincial governments would take steps to discourage public meetings and in case of violation of law, action would be taken against the political leaders and organizers. He said the coronavirus is a reality as evident from the neighbouring countries where the situation is the worst. However, Pakistan’s economy had come out of the crisis caused by the deadly disease, he added. He said when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took charge, it initiated the process for institutional reforms as the institutions had lost their significance with the passage of time. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan formed a competent team led by Dr Ishrat Hussain to reform and make the institutions effective. “Now we have to see where we stand and where we are heading to.” Shibli Faraz said inefficiency and corruption prevailed in the institutions in the past. “The important institutions like Radio Pakistan, Pakistan Television and Pakistan Steel Mills were stuffed with favourites without merit. Similarly, institutions like Pakistan National Council of Arts, Lok Virsa and universities were spending 80 percent of their funds on salaries and administrative expenses,” he said. “Every government, he said, made political appointments in the institutions, which lost their standing. On the contrary, now the appointments on higher posts are made through selection board and nobody is challenging them in courts,” he added. Adviser to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain said that it is easy to weaken and destroy state institutions but it takes a lot of time and effort to strengthen them. Sharing the government’s plan, Dr Hussain said that PM Imran Khan has directed him to appoint institutional heads in a transparent and procedural manner. “We have set up specific procedures and have appointed a committee to select the head of the organisations,” Dr Hussain told journalists. “Earlier, the head of these institutions were appointed on the basis of vested interests, but the PM has abolished this trend and has decided to prioritise merit over everything else.” He said that making merit a priority is not an easy task as bringing about this type of change is a time-consuming process. Speaking about the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), Dr Hussain said that making the FBR stronger through improved tax collection will be immensely beneficial for the country. “The government has decided to run the tax system under a fully-automated system. Out of 2.5 million taxpayers, one million people neither declare their sources of income nor pay their taxes,” he said. He also spoke about restructuring Pakistan Railways, Pakistan Steel Mills, and Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), among other institutions. “We have also decided to restructure the PIA. At present, it has 14,000 employees which will be reduced to 7,000. The company has been facing a lot of losses and an increase in debts, which is why we want to turn it into a profitable institution,” Dr Hussain maintained.