Thursday June 20, 2024

Cabinet not satisfied with Faizabad probe panel report

Cabinet directs to form a special committee that will present its recommendations on the matter

By Ag App & Ayaz Akbar Yousafzai & Muhammad Anis
May 22, 2024
Protesters gather at the site of the Faizabad sit-in in Islamabad. — AFP/File
Protesters gather at the site of the Faizabad sit-in in Islamabad. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet, with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in the chair, on Tuesday expressed its dissatisfaction over a report of an Inquiry Commission into the Faizabad sit-in (dharna) by observing that the commission ignored its Terms of Reference (ToR).

The meeting was directed to constitute a special committee of the cabinet that would submit its recommendations in this regard. The Attorney General submitted an inquiry report over the issue and gave a detailed briefing to the cabinet, PM Office Media Wing said in a press release.

The cabinet also adopted a resolution expressing condolences on the martyrdom of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and their companions in a helicopter crash. The meeting also granted its approval to the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior for duty and tax exemption on the equipment donated to Balochistan police by the Guangdong Public Security Department, China.

It also approved the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Pakistan and the United Kingdom for handing over three accused of Pakistani nationality on the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior. The National Livestock Breeding Policy, 2022 was presented by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research and the cabinet directed it to resubmit it after holding consultations with the private sector. On the recommendation of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, the cabinet approved in principle the legislation work related to the National Animal Health, Welfare and Veterinary Public Health Act 2024. A cabinet committee on legislation would comprehensively look into the matter.

Meanwhile, the accused responsible for the scandal of importing extra wheat during the caretaker government has been determined and four of the officials have been suspended.

According to government sources, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the inquiry committee’s recommendations, in light of which the suspension of four Federal Ministry of National Food Security officers has also been approved. According to sources, formal action has been approved against former National Food Security Federal Secretary Muhammad Asif, while the suspension of former Plant Protection DG AD Abid has been approved. According to sources, suspension of Food Security Commissioner Dr Wasim and Director Sohail has also been approved. The responsible officers have been charged with poor planning and negligence.

The prime minister also received a delegation of Kashmiri diaspora activists, led by Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General World Kashmir Awareness Forum at Prime Minister House and reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering moral, diplomatic and political support for the Kashmiri people’s struggle. Shehbaz emphasised that durable peace in South Asia was contingent upon a just settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, under the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the aspirations of Kashmiri people, a statement issued by the PM media wing said.

While chairing a meeting of the Economic Advisory Council, the prime minister said that the government would announce measures to facilitate foreign investors and the business community in the upcoming budget. Shehbaz Sharif expressed satisfaction with the economic situation. Shehaz observed that due to the government’s policies, the inflation rate in was on the nosedive and through governance they had been taking steps to pass on the effects of the reduction in the price hike to the common man.

The meeting was attended by council members including Jahangir Khan Tareen, Saqib Sherazi, Shahzad Saleem, Mussadiq Zulqarnain, Dr Ejaz Nabi, Asif Pir, Zaid Bashir, Salman Ahmed and Sheharyar Chishti. Federal Ministers Ahad Khan Cheema, Ahsan Iqbal, Muhammad Aurangzeb, Ali Pervaiz Malik, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Dr Jehanzeb Khan, PM’s Coordinator Rana Ahsan Afzal, governor SBP and relevant senior officials were also present.

Shehbaz said that they would reduce the tax ratio on the common man and would increase the number of tax filers.

During a meeting with Secretary General South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Muhammad Golam Sarwar, the PM reaffirmed Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to the principles and objectives of the SAARC Charter and stated that Pakistan would continue to play its part in strengthening the SAARC process. The SAARC secretary general is on his maiden visit to Pakistan.

Talking to a delegation of a German NGO Global Bridges Berlin, Shehbaz Sharif highlighted the immense potential of boosting German investment. The prime minister said that Pakistan desired to enhance its bilateral trade and investment portfolio with Germany.

The delegation members, which also included German Ambassador in Pakistan Alfred Grannas and German businessmen and investors, expressed their keen interest in investing in Pakistan’s carbon credit market, as well as climate change and agriculture.