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September 1, 2020

Queries in cabinet on accountability process

Top Story

September 1, 2020

Queries in cabinet on accountability process

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Monday emphasized the need for effective accountability to cleanse the country of the stables of corruption and punish corrupt people.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting attended by the federal ministers, advisers and special assistants. During the meeting, the federal cabinet members raised questions about the accountability process. The prime minister said the leaders of opposition parties wanted an NRO but he would not compromise with the corrupt politicians and would bring them to justice.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a high-level meeting on the Karachi Transformation Plan for resolving problems of the country’s commercial hub on a permanent basis.

Minister for Planning Asad Umar, Minister for Maritime Affairs Syed Ali Zaidi (video link), Governor Sindh Imran Ismail, Chairman NDMA Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal, secretaries of relevant ministries and senior officers attended the meeting. The prime minister was given a detailed briefing on the water, sewerage, drainage, solid waste management and transport problems facing the people of Karachi and said the proposed Karachi Transformation Plan will resolve these problems on a permanent basis. A presentation was given to the prime minister on Karachi Transformation Plan by the Ministry of Planning.

Talking about the problems of Karachi, the prime minister said development of the country was linked to the development of Karachi. “There is a full understanding of the public issues facing Karachi over the years. We can’t turn a blind eye to the plight of the people. The Federation will play its full role for the solution and development of Karachi's problems,” he maintained. The prime minister directed that the Karachi Transformation Plan be finalised this week in consultation with all stakeholders so that its formal approval and implementation could begin.

Meanwhile, Leader of the House in the Senate Senator Dr. Shahzad Waseem called on the Prime minister here. During the meeting, matters, particularly in relation to legislation were discussed. Separately, MNA Khurram Shahzad also met the prime minister.

In a related development, the prime minister thanked the nation for the peaceful observing of Ashura in the country and vowed to take very tough action against those who tried to ignite the flames of sectarianism. In a tweet, the prime minister said, “I want to thank our nation for the peaceful observing of Ashura in the country. However, unfortunately, information has come to me of elements who tried to ignite flames of sectarianism on this occasion and I will be taking very tough action against them”.

“There are 3 imp messages for us from Imam Hussain AS, his family & followers' sacrifice at Karbala. 1. Immortality is earned by those who give the supreme sacrifice of their lives to stand against tyranny & injustice. It is not earned simply by being rich, powerful or educated.

He wrote, “2. throughout history many great Muslims have been inspired by Karbala & sacrificed their lives to stand against oppression, colonial rule, injustice. 3. Today, the struggle continues against oppression of occupation & injustice in IIOJK”

“The brave Kashmiris who are fighting against the worst form of military oppression & tyranny should be inspired by Karbala to stay steadfast in their courage because their struggle against tyranny & injustice will succeed as the martyrs of Karbala showed us,” he said.

During a meeting with a delegation of American Business Council that called on Prime Minister, Khan said overcoming obstacles in the way of business community, and ensuring a conducive environment for profitable business was the top priority of the government.

He said the government had announced incentives for the construction sector on priority basis to enable the development of not only construction but also allied industries. Finance Advisor Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Trade Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, Chairman Board of Investment Atif Bukhari and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.

He noted that a high-level committee had been set up for the promotion of small and medium enterprises so that obstacles in the way of such business activities could be removed. The prime minister directed the trade adviser and finance advisers to review the proposals put forward by the delegation to ensure implementation of workable proposals.

The delegation appreciated various initiatives undertaken by the government in terms of facilities for the business community and especially in terms of ease of doing business. Delegation members from various sectors briefed the prime minister on the business activities of their companies and related matters. The government's business-friendly policies have encouraged the US companies operating in Pakistan to expand their investments, the delegation told the prime minister.

The delegation made various proposals to the prime minister to create more facilities for the business community. The delegation presented another cheque for Rs17 million from the American Business Council to the Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund. Earlier, the Council had deposited Rs20 million into Prime Minister's Corona Relief Fund.

Meantime, the prime minister rejected the Ogra’s proposal for increasing the petroleum prices, and decided to keep them unchanged for September. Chairing a high-level meeting here, Imran said people were already facing misery due to the COVID-19 and torrential rains that had wreaked havoc across Pakistan. "We cannot increase the petroleum prices and add to the woes of the people,” the premier added. The price of petrol will be maintained at Rs103.97 a litre, diesel Rs106.46, kerosene 65.29 and light diesel Rs62.86/liter.

The Ogra in its summary had proposed an increase of about Rs58per litre in the prices of petrol and HSD for the month of September. It had also suggested increase in kerosene and light diesel oil (LDO) prices. For August, the federal government had increased the prices of petrol and high-speed diesel by up to Rs5 per litre ahead of Eidul Azha.

For July, the government had made a hefty increase of up to 66 percent in petroleum products’ prices by jacking up prices of petrol by Rs25.58/litre, diesel Rs21.31/litre and kerosene by Rs23.50/litre and LDO by Rs17.84/litre. The government is currently charging Rs30 per litre petroleum levy (PL) on petrol and diesel, Rs6/litre on kerosene and Rs3/litre on LDO.

The government is also charging 17 percent general sales tax on all the petroleum products. For the last more than one month, the Brent price on the international market is almost stagnant, hovering around $41 to $46 per barrel.