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February 26, 2020

Cabinet approves uniform education policy

Top Story

February 26, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday decided not to raise the electricity and gas tariffs and approved uniform education policy and merged two bills for the protection of journalists for the formation of a comprehensive law.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said Prime Minister Imran Khan unequivocally reiterated the government's resolve not to put the burden of increased bills of electricity on the people. He emphasised that the masses should not suffer due to gaps in generation and supply of electricity, caused by the agreements signed by the past governments. Dr Firdous noted that the cabinet was given a briefing on the decisions taken by the previous governments, which resulted in an increased tariff of electricity. She said the prime minister directed the Ministry of Energy to devise a comprehensive mechanism so that an increase in the tariff due to Neelum-Jhelum surcharge or circular debt or any other related issue was not passed on to the ordinary people.

Dr Firdous said the cabinet was informed that 500 feeders in the country were secured and modern technology was being employed to stop line losses, while more than 58,387 FIRs lodged against the electricity thieves during 2019. It was decided that the budget subsidy of Rs162 billion would continue to secure consumers using up to 300 units and farmers.

The prime minister in categorical terms said that the burden of wrong and anti-people policies of the previous government should not be shifted to the consumers. Dr Firdous said that the PML-N government had taken decisions keeping in view the election year and also the Panama case at that time and delayed certain decisions, the consequences of which were being borne by the people. She said the Ministry of Energy has presented a detailed plan to the federal cabinet on the supply of power, prices of electricity for domestic and commercial consumers and short-term and long-term goals for bringing these tariffs down.

Dr Firdous said Minister for Education and Technical Training Shafqat Mehmood presented the Pakistan National Education Plan 2020, which was approved by the cabinet after a thorough debate. A unified curriculum would be introduced in all the educational institutional institutions, including religious seminaries whose students would be brought to the mainstream by providing them modern education facilities.

The prime minister's SAPM said the federal cabinet in principle decided to merge two separate bills related to the journalists’ safety, security, insurance, and terrorism, and directed the relevant ministry to prepare a comprehensive law for approval. She said while the debate was going on the media regarding the Justice Faez Isa case in the Supreme Court, the prime minister fully supported the Law Minister Farogh Nasim. She said that while appreciating the law minister and his legal team for fulfilling their responsibilities in line with the law and Constitution, the prime minister assured the minister that the government stood by them in their measures, taken within the ambit of the law and Constitution. Dr Firdous continued that they were quite hopeful that the institutions would be strengthened and the courts would play their role independently, which would benefit the masses.

Before the cabinet took up 14-point agenda, the prime minister told the cabinet about the measures taken to prevent coronavirus and said that there was no case of this virus in the country and Pakistan was being seen as a coronavirus-free country. Dr Firdous said the prime minister mentioed the families, who had braved the situation while their children in China contributed to fighting the virus there. The premier expressed solidarity with these families and their children. The prime minister said that all possible measures were being taken to prevent coronavirus infection from spreading in the country.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Dr Sania Nishtar gave a detailed briefing to cabinet on Ehsaas Kafalat Programme, Langar Khanas and other initiatives which are the vision of the PTI government to provide support to vulnerable segments of society. The prime minister expressed satisfaction on the social welfare programmes under Ehsaas Programme. She said Langar Khana concept was given by the State of Madina. The cabinet was given a briefing on economic data and the reduction in prices of essential items. Due to effective monitoring and comprehensive policies of the government, the cabinet noted that a strong message had gone to various mafias of hoarders and profiteers resulting in a reduction in prices. The cabinet gave approval to the construction of high rise buildings in the surroundings of Benazir Bhutto International Airport.

To a question, she said the prime minister would come to the Parliament, but was presently busy in providing relief to people and working 18 hours a day, as all the ministries were faced with challenges and the government was focusing on how to wriggle out of those. The prime minister, she noted, was playing a crucially important role while it was easy to sit in the Parliament. She said the cabinet approved licenses of prohibited bore arms to Sardar Akhtar Mengal and Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini besides raising the security force of Basha Dam.