ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday said the cabinet was informed that despite an increase in the cases of new coronavirus variant -- Omicron --...
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Tuesday said the cabinet was informed that despite an increase in the cases of new coronavirus variant -- Omicron -- the hospitalisation rate in the country had risen by only one and a half times.
Addressing the media after the federal cabinet meeting, the minister said there is no pressure on the health system, adding, the government had decided not to close the businesses. "All activities will continue and with the help of Almighty Allah we will be able to defeat the current wave as well," he said, adding the workers going abroad for earning livelihood would be given subsidy in conducting corona tests and a summary in this regard would be presented in the ECC.
The minister said the entire world had appreciated Pakistan's policy of smartlockdown and The Economist, an international weekly newspaper, had also praised the government's policy on handling Covid-19 pandemic. Fawad said the cabinet accorded approval to the draft of comprehensive legal reforms, which would be presented to Parliament.
Under the reforms, it would be mandatory for the courts to dispose off criminal cases within nine months and in case of delay, presiding judges and prosecutors would be bound to give reasons to the chief justices of concerned high courts, he said.
The police's power of bail under suo moto would be strengthened, while a plea bargain clause had been suggested for the accused in criminal cases, he said and added under the new law, the station house officer would have to be a graduate and an officer of the rank of sub-inspector.
He said an independent prosecution service would be launched, forensic laboratories upgraded, and the latest equipment and devices introduced for investigation of cases. It was proposed for the police to file a challan in the court within 45 days instead of 14, which often compromised the investigation process, he added.
The minister said that during the briefing by the Ministry of Planning and Development, the cabinet was informed that overall economic situation was stable. Exports had increased by 29pc, with the textile sector having the largest share, while the import of petroleum products and palm oil was the main reason for increase in the import bill. Fawad said 35 per cent increase in the machinery import was a positive development, which showed that long term expansion in the textile sector was being done successfully.
About the PSDP projects, he said, as compared to the last year, about 18 per cent more funds had been utilised so far during the current fiscal year. He said the overseas Pakistanis had again proved their worth as evident from 11.3 per cent increase in their remittances. The foreign exchange reserves were stable, while the rate of tax revenue had increased by 32.5pc, Fawad added.
The cabinet, he said, given the approval of additional charge of Chief Executive Officer at Diamer Basha Dam to Muhammad Yousuf for three months. It endorsed the ECC's decisions, including the removal of 45 percent regulatory duty on import of pine nuts from Afghanistan. He said the government would pay $11.6 million compensation to the Chinese nationals, the victims of Dasu Hydropower Project terror attack. The cabinet, the minister said, approved a list of some items exported by Afghanistan to trade in rupees. He said it gave its consent for formulation of a special advisory committee regarding the matters related to 5G licenses.
He said Faisal Sherjan was appointed as Executive Director of Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority. The cabinet was given a briefing on awarding bonuses to federal ministries and divisions for showing good performance to improve the affairs of government, the minister added. To a query about the PDM's latest huddle, Fawad said the multi-party opposition alliance of Pakistan Democratic Movement posed no threat to the government.-