–Info minister says govt is withdrawing open-sky policy in an attempt to revive PIA
–Cabinet lifts ban on construction of high-rise buildings in Islamabad
–Kartarpur Corridor to be opened in November
ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved a new Civil Aviation Policy to promote tourism and give a boost to the aviation industry in the country.
The decision was taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan during the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
Briefing reporters about the decisions, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the government would facilitate tourists traveling to the northern areas and other resorts by reducing expenditures up to Rs4 billion.
The minister further said Pakistan was withdrawing its open-sky policy as the policies of previous governments had caused a lot of damage to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) after the profitable routes were auctioned off to other airlines. In addition, the government decided to review agreements with all the international airlines, added Fawad.
He said that the CAA has decided that it will not charge any taxes on the meal costs of flight kitchens, which would hopefully increase the quality of food offered in flights.
He said the cabinet also discussed to start helicopter and 40-seater planes service to the tourist sites in the country.
Fawad further said Finance Minister Asad Umar has agreed to sit and devise a policy along the CAA’s recommendations so that taxes on domestic flights can be reduced in order to make domestic travel cheaper.
He said the government encourages women to become pilots and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) will contribute up to Rs400,000 in fee for the purpose. He said the duration of licence of pilots has been increased to five years.
The information minister also noted that the Interior Ministry had earlier in the day issued a notification stating that its NOC regime has been ended. As a result, if foreign tourists come to Pakistan and want to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, they will not require prior approval from the authorities.
Moreover, he said that the e-visa facility is being provided to five countries, including China, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, and the United Kingdom. He said people from 58 countries can get a visa on arrival, while 170 other countries will be given e-visa facility.
HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS ALLOWED IN ISLAMABAD:
The minister said the cabinet also decided to lift the ban on high rising buildings in Islamabad and any builder who wants to construct skyscrapers in the federal capital won’t need prior permission.
The information minister said that since Prime Minister Imran Khan wishes to see cities grow vertically rather than horizontally, high rises can now be constructed in all commercial areas of the capital without requiring a ‘no-objection certificate’ (NOC) from the CDA or CAA.
The minister said the cabinet also decided to lift the ban on high rising buildings in Islamabad and any builder who wants to construct skyscrapers in the capital won’t need permission from Capital Development Authority or the CAA.
“The hope with this is that, for the first time in Islamabad, [high rise projects] will benefit and foreign investment will be directed to the city,” the info minister explained.
Speaking about Kartarpur Corridor, the minister informed media persons that the corridor will be opened in November this year for the Sikh community to travel to the Kartarpur shrine.
He said in order to ensure the required arrangements and facilitate the Sikh pilgrims, a new 10-member Pakistan Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has been constituted.
Answering a question about opening Sharda Temple corridor in Azad Kashmir, the minister said we will wait for Indian request about it.
Fawad said the cabinet also approved Ramzan package to provide relief to people during the holy month.