–Federal cabinet decides to devise comprehensive policy on Afghan refugees
ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have signed three grant agreements, adding that the country is bringing a major investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
He was addressing a press conference following the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday.
He also said that an important Saudi delegation, comprising energy, petroleum ministers as well as the country’s investment chief, will reach Pakistan on Sunday for talks. “Saudi wants to bring a major investment in CPEC and this has begun,” he added.
The minister further said that the federal cabinet has decided to devise a comprehensive policy on Afghan refugees before the next extension of their stay in June 2019.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan would be given a comprehensive briefing on the issue.”
He said that out of 2.5 million Afghan refugees in the country, two million were registered while as many as 879,198 had citizen cards of Afghanistan but they lived in Pakistan.
Fawad said that the issues related to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) were being looked into and Mansoor Hussain Siddiqui had been appointed as the Financial Monitoring Unit director general. He said the cabinet gave approval for appointment of Justice (r) Abdul Rauf as Wage Board Award chairman, which would finalise the award within 120 days to fulfil the longstanding demand of the journalist community.
“The cabinet was also informed that next week a big operation would be launched against 100 big defaulters of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR),” added the info minister.
The cabinet also decided that tax exemptions for Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (PATA) would be retained till the year 2023, he said, adding that the prime minister directed all ministers to promote meritocracy and not give or receive recommendations from others.
The prime minister also directed to increase the use of information technology to save precious resources and move towards becoming a paperless government. He said that the prime minister told the cabinet that a vibrant tourism policy would also be introduced and beaches, coastal areas and northern parts of the country would be the main focus of development for tourism.
Replying to questions of media persons, Fawad said that the committee constituted regarding electronic media advertisements was meant to check content and it had nothing to do with the release of advertisements. He said that regarding the issuance of advertisements, he had sought proposals from All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS) and Council of Newspaper Editors (CPNE) and a policy would be finalised after receiving their input.
Moreover, he said, details of advertisements released daily were being put on the Press Information Department’s (PID) website. “The governments in the past ruined national institutions like Radio Pakistan, PTV, PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills by inducting their cronies,” he added.
To another question, he said that the prime minister had also issued directives to Punjab chief minister to remove the bureaucrats responsible for the Model Town carnage from important posts and had called for filing an appeal against Lahore High Court (LCH) verdict on the petition by Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT).