By Shakeel Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Discussing the ongoing political situation in the country, the Federal Cabinet on Tuesday expressed its satisfaction that the present positive economic indicators were manifestation of the government’s pragmatic policies.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, while chairing the cabinet meeting, observed that the reforms introduced by the present Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) dispensation would end politics of the opponents like that of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the party in its last five-year rule brought far reaching reforms and was re-elected by the people by overwhelming majority, which was the first time in the province’s history.
Flanked by Adviser on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan while briefing media persons about the cabinet decisions, said the meeting expressed satisfaction over the outcome of economic policies, showing positive economic indicators.
The reforms process being followed by the present government, she said, was difficult one as the beneficiaries of the old rotten system were a hurdle in its way. The prime minister, however, assured the cabinet that the government would not back away from its reforms agenda as it was for Pakistan’s development and progress, she added.
The cabinet was informed by Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar that the economic indicators were a proof that the economy was out of the quagmire and moving towards stability.
Dr Firdous said the cabinet was told that fiscal deficit had shown 50 per cent reduction with positive trends in foreign investment during last year.
Moreover, the stock exchange had gained 1,500 points during the past three days, which proved that the business community had not taken any negative impact of the ongoing sit-in in Islamabad.
She said the circular debt was increasing by Rs 10 to 12 billion against about Rs 38 billion per month during the last regime. Pakistan’s ranking in ‘ease of doing business’ had also improved, she added.
The special assistant said the prime minister gave a roadmap for next three months to various departments and ministries to achieve their targets. He also issued directions to all the ministries to make maximum efforts for completing public sector development programmes in next three months, she added.
The prime minister, she said, further directed to work on jobs creation and parallel empowerment strategies for the youth. The prime minister said he himself would monitor the progress so that decisions were made on time and red-tapism was avoided. For the purpose, the prime minister would have a meeting with all the federal secretaries after cabinet meetings, she added.
The cabinet approved the waiver of passport and fee requirement for the pilgrims of Kartarpur Corridor. The visa on arrival facility would be given to Sikh pilgrims, doing away other requirements. The policy would be applicable not only for the Sikh pilgrims but also for all the foreign tourists under the revised visa regime.
Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain apprised the cabinet on new local government system. The cabinet directed that Islamabad’s reform process should be completed within three months and an interim arrangement would be made to introduce Punjab like local government system in the capital.
The cabinet expressed its reservation over the audit report of National Database Registration Authority presented in the meeting and issued directions for hiring services of a well-reputed firm for fresh audit.
The cabinet gave approval to the decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee taken in its October 30 meeting.
The cabinet also accorded approval to the appointment of Director General of Rangers Punjab.
By Shakeel Ahmed