Sunday July 14, 2024

Cabinet extends 1.45m Afghan refugees’ right to stay

POR cards for 1.45 million Afghan refugees legally residing in the country extended by one year

By Our Correspondent
July 11, 2024
Afghan refugees pictured at Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman. — AFP/File
Afghan refugees pictured at Pakistan-Afghanistan border in Chaman. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet met under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday and approved to abolish the Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD), with directions for completing the transition process within two weeks.

As per the approved plan, an asset and facility management company would be established to continue maintenance and repair works, assigned previously to the Pak-PWD. Its staff would be transferred to respective ministries after grading and a golden handshake scheme would also be implemented. All property records of the Pak-PWD would be computerised.

The Pakistan Infrastructure Development Company would be established to supervise federal development projects, while all provincial development projects, under supervision of the federal government, would be handed over to relevant provincial institutions.

The cabinet was briefed about the progress made by the committee, chaired by finance minister, to reduce the government size.

It was told that basic information was being obtained for rightsizing of essential institutions and closure of unnecessary subsidiary institutions of different ministries, including Information Technology, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, States and Frontier Regions, Industries and Production and National Health Services.

The meeting was told that the process would be completed till Friday, and the committee would formulate proposals on the basis of information, in consultation with the ministries concerned and submit them to the cabinet by the first week of next month.

Similarly, from Friday next, recommendations would be made to close or merge other institutions after getting information from other federal ministries.

The cabinet also approved a one-year extension of ‘Proof of Registration’ (PoR) cards for 1.45 million Afghan refugees, legally residing in the country and whose PoR cards expired last month. The extension in the PoR cards had been granted till June 30 next year.

The cabinet also gave nod to decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) in its meeting on June 27. The ECC, in its meeting, gave in principle approval to the Finance Division for establishment of the Pension Fund. The committee also approved a proposal for a defined contributory scheme for the new entrants w.e.f. July 1, 2024, and for armed forces w.e.f. July 1, 2025.

The cabinet meeting also allowed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to establish its provincial headquarters at the Federal Lodge-II Peshawar.

The cabinet approved termination of the status of Bahawalpur Medical College from April 19, 2024 due to non-compliance with requirements of the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC). Students studying in that institution would be transferred to other medical colleges in the country. Shehbaz ordered the Prime Minister Inspection Commission to conduct an inquiry that how the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council permitted the Bahawalpur Medical College to continue its educational activities despite not fulfilling the requirements. The cabinet approved the appointment of Javed Qureshi as director from the Government of Pakistan to the Board of Directors of K-Electric.