Cabinet approves new anti-poverty division, won’t rename BISP


–Decides to ban telecast of IPL matches in Pakistan, appoints Arshad Malik as PIA’s CEO

–Fawad says 18th Amendment can be subjected to changes with political consensus


ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the creation of a new division named Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Division and decided against renaming Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The cabinet’s decisions were announced at a press conference held by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry.

The minister said that the new division will be headed by Dr Sania Nishtar and it will coordinate functions of different organisations under the newly launched Ehsas Programme.

Fawad said the new poverty alleviation programme envisages provision of health cards and affordable housing facilities for low-income people.

The minister also made it clear that the government is not going to change the name of BISP. He said that financial aid is provided to poor people through BISP, Zakat, and Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal, whereas under the new social welfare programme new initiatives will be taken. He said that health cards, kafalat and affordable housing scheme will be launched by the prime minister soon and Ehsas will facilitate the poor people of Pakistan.


The information minister said that the federal cabinet also gave approval for the banning of broadcasting of Indian Premier League (IPL) matches in Pakistan.

Fawad said that India has left no opportunity to harm Pakistan’s cricket. He said that sports, culture, and other showbiz activities should not be politicised, but India adopted an aggressive posture against our players and artists.

“However, we saw the attitude that [India] maintained against Pakistani citizens, actors, artists and cricketers,” the minister said, adding that the wearing of military caps by Indian cricket players during a match against Australia was “the limit” for Pakistan.

He said that Indian broadcaster pulled out from broadcasting Pakistan Super League (PSL) matches to harm Pakistan’s cricket in the middle of the tournament following the Pulwama attack in order to harm the league.

He said the Ministry of Information had proposed the cabinet ban on IPL because after “India made an organised effort to harm cricket in Pakistan, it doesn’t make sense for us to allow an Indian domestic tournament to be promoted here”.

He said that now the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) would ensure that IPL matches would not be aired in Pakistan.

Responding to a question about India’s belligerent posture, the information minister said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi should better rethink his policy because he has badly failed and even the Indian people do not believe in his rhetoric.

Talking about the other decisions of the federal cabinet meeting, the minister said that boards of Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation, Oil and Gas Development Authority, Sui Southern Gas Pipe Lines, and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines have been reconstituted. He said that the cabinet approved the appointment of Arshad Malik as the chief executive officer (CEO) of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Fawad said that the cabinet also approved the appointment of judges of various banking courts and Hassan Irfan Khan has been removed from the IPO Policy Board. He said that the cabinet approved an extension in the licence of Vision Air International for one year

Giving details of the cabinet meetings during the tenure of the PTI government, the information minister said that cabinet has so far held thirty-three meetings during which 607 decisions regarding 45 divisions were taken. Of these, 375 decisions have already been fully implemented, while the rest are in the implementation phase.

He said that the meeting also approved a budget of Rs57.3 billion for Khassadar and other forces working in erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Responding to a question, Fawad said that Finance Minister Asad Umar will announce a new economic roadmap for the development of industries and other sectors. Similarly, he said that Energy Minister Umar Ayyub Khan will present a new roadmap for energy. He said that efforts would be made to ensure that no load-shedding takes place in the next summer.

Fawad said directions have also been given to ensure availability of gas in the next winter season.

To a question about the 18th Amendment, he said that some clause of the amendment regarding higher education and health can be amended if there is a political consensus on it. To another question, he said the establishment of military courts was need of the hour and these courts have performed well. He said that if the opposition agrees the tenure of military courts can be extended.