ISLAMABAD: While chairing cabinet meeting on Tuesday Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that bringing less developed and backward areas at par with other parts of the country is the top priorty of the government as he issued directives to include Peshawar-Torkham section in railways’ Main Line-1 (ML-1) project.
The meeting was briefed about the quota system and especially its importance, after the merger of erstwhile tribal areas, and efforts to bring the people of those areas equal to other parts of the country.
The Prime Minister said the quota system has been continuing as it was before and its sole objective is to bring people of the backward areas at part with rest of the country. He said justice will be ensured, while implementing the quota system.
The cabinet was informed about the steps being taken to bring back former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is wanted by the law. Nawaz Sharif was allowed to go abroad for his treatment on humanitarian grounds, but he misused this concession. It was told that all possible steps would be taken for the repatriation of Nawaz Sharif. The cabinet reiterated that the government will not accord any leniency in equal implementation of the law.
The Prime Minister and the cabinet members expressed the resolve that the government will not be blackmailed to give any NRO. The Prime Minister said NROs given in the past have resulted in multiplying debt and pushed the country into the quagmire of loans.
The federal cabinet also approved inclusion of 61 food and non-food items in Compulsory Certification Mark Scheme in view of consumers’ health and protection. The meeting was apprised that the government is making efforts to revive Roosevelt Hotel, which is a national asset, and to avert ever growing losses in this regard.
The cabinet was informed that a ship carrying 60,000 tonnes of wheat is arriving at Karachi port on Wednesday (today), while another ship will reach Pakistan with 60,000 metric tonnes of wheat on Friday. It was said that half million tonnes of wheat will reach Pakistan in September this year. The cabinet was briefed that a declining trend in wheat prices is being seen due to government’s timely efforts.
Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar told the meeting that prices of sugar have come down from five to four rupees as a result of government’s steps and this reduction of prices will be seen at retail level in next two days.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Syed Fakhar Imam apprised the cabinet about steps taken for the increase in production of wheat, cotton and other crops, which include provision of quality seed.
The Prime Minister advised to formulate short-term, medium-term, and long-term policies to ensure food security. The cabinet also appreciated efforts of Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to take ML-1 project forward successfully.
The meeting expressed concern over problems being faced by the people of Sindh especially the residents of Karachi as a result of recent rains. The meeting also stressed the need for taking steps to address people’s problems.
During the meeting, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also supported the proposal to include Peshawar-Torkham Section in ML-1.
The federal cabinet also approved inclusion of 61 food and non-food items for mandatory certification list. Current political situation, progress on ML-1 project, import of sugar and wheat and other issues were discussed in the meeting.
The cabinet also endorsed appointment of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) chairman. It also approved relaxing PPRA rules on public-private partnerships.
Speaking during the meeting, Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda opined that Maryam should have been arrested after a violent clash between the PML-N and police outside the NAB Lahore office. He demanded that she should not be let flee abroad come what may.
Some of the cabinet members raised the issue of a rumpus in Monday’s National Assembly session deploring former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s remarks. Vawda said they have not received votes to listen to abuses of people like Abbasi.
Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar suggested revoking assembly membership of lawmakers found using foul language in the house.
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