Pakistan will not budge from principled stand on Kashmir: Firdous

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday said that the federal cabinet has reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment of not budging from its principled stand on Kashmir at any cost.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Firdous said the cabinet of ministers had endorsed measures being taken by the government on Kashmir cause in the wake of steps taken by India to change status quo in Kashmir.

She said that PM Imran took his ministers into confidence on the regional situation emerging after revocation of the independent status of Kashmir by India.

He directed the cabinet members to proactively use social media to expose atrocities by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir and also India’s open violation of international laws. The prime minister also directed them to make all out efforts to expose negative intentions of India, she said.

She said that focal groups had been formed on Kashmir in context of parliamentary resolution that would work under their mandate and give concrete recommendations to the government.

The adviser said that the federal cabinet also decided to increase the number of members of the committee formed to prepare recommendations in view of the recent act of India on Kashmir. In that regard, she said opposition parties would be invited to become part of the committee. Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq would also be invited. President and Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Governor Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) would also be included in the committee.

The cabinet appreciated statement of UN Secretary General on Kashmir in which he expressed concern on the situation and recalled that under Simla Agreement the final status of Jammu and Kashmir was to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with Charter of the United Nations.

Referring to other decisions of the cabinet, she said a briefing was given by Frontier Works Organization regarding clean Karachi initiative.

So far Rs 55.5 million had been spent under that initiative of the federal government to clean Lyari and other nullahs, she added.

She said 10 initiatives were put before cabinet under the Ehsaas programme. The prime minister told the cabinet that Pakistan was rich in resources, capital and talent and challenges were due to inequitable distribution of resources.

The Ehsaas initiative would help reduce unemployment, besides provision of quality food and employment to marginalized segments of the society. Under the programme, women would be given preference in order to empower them, she added.

The cabinet also approved lungar programme to provide free meals to destitute and poor people in major cities of the country. Dr Firdous said that 155 offices of Pakistan Baitul Mal and Tehsil offices, while more than 385 offices of Benazir Income Support Programme across the country would work collectively to provide that service.

The cabinet also accorded approval to restructuring of Pakistan Cricket Board in order to promote regional cricket and groom new talent.

It also gave approval to decisions of Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) taken in its last meeting. The adviser said that the cabinet approved measures to facilitate construction of high rise buildings in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Multan.

The prime minster directed Civil Aviation Division to give its suggestions in order to facilitate construction of high rise buildings and to attract foreign investment in the housing sector.

The cabinet also directed the relevant authorities to make adequate arrangements for coping with the flood situation in various parts of the country during current rainy season.

It also accorded approval to charter bill of University of Engineering and Emerging Technology, she said and added, cabinet approved a mechanism for provision of gas facility under the gas development schemes.

The cabinet re-endorsed current charge of managing director of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.

Answering a question, the adviser said that the cabinet also approved to suspend the trade ties with India.

To another question about opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif’s statement about arrest of Maryam Nawaz, she questioned about personal relations of Sharif brothers with India and its businessmen.

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