The federal Cabinet on Friday approved the acquisition of land for Diamer-Bhasha Dam and compensation rates of barren land Chilas and deferred export growth strategy to the next meeting.
A meeting of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave approval to the acquisition of land and compensation of rates for barren land at Chilas for Diamer-Bhasha Dam on a proposal of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Division.
The meeting allowed extension in stay of Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Ministry of States and Frontier Division has sought approval of Proof Registration (PoR) Cards and Tripartite Agreement in respect of Registered Afghan Refugees till December 31, 2017, however, Cabinet granted approved till end March 2017.
The meeting took up Wazeer-e-Azam Qaumi Taraqqiati Programme 2016-18/ Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Goals Programme for discussion because in principle approval to the programme was given in the last meeting contingent on taking on board members of the cabinet with respect to development schemes to be undertaken.
Sources said Cabinet Members were asked to submit their suggestions which were required to be submitted to the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs, headed by Sheikh Aftab Ahmed.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Captain Safdar have held various rounds of meeting with the Cabinet Secretary during last few days to finalise the schemes.
The schemes finalised in the light of Cabinet Members’ suggestion were put up to the meeting for discussion. Sources added that minimum size of individual schemes would be Rs 2.5 million and those above Rs 30 million would be put up to the Prime Minister for approval.
They added the meeting decided that only new schemes would be executed under the programme. Sui gas companies have been asked to initiate new schemes and funds to be allocated for these schemes are expected to be declared non-lapsable.
The Prime Minister said that achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is a must for long term prosperity of the country and equal opportunities must be given to all parts and people of the country mainly in the sectors of health and education with a special focus on less developed areas.
After the cabinet approved land acquisition for Diamer-Bhasha Dam, the Prime Minister stated that construction of mega hydel projects would help in fulfilling the energy needs of the country along with mitigating the hazards of floods.
He said the government is determined and focused on resolving the energy issues and plans include execution of short-, medium- and long-term projects in this regard.
He underlined the need for maintaining transparency in distribution of compensation money to the affected people of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
The Prime Minister said the government arranged the finances for Dasu Dam through the World Bank and all the required measures are ensured for the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam.
While discussing a proposal for extension in date for repatriation of Afghans refugees from Pakistan, he said, “Afghans are our brothers and very dear to us. Adequate and concrete steps will be ensured for facilitation of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan”.
The Prime Minister directed the Ministry of States & Frontier Regions to hold broad-based consultations with the national leaderships of mainstream political parties and Afghan representatives to address concerns of Afghan refugees.
Nawaz Sharif stated, “we would not allow that Afghan Refugees living in Pakistan are terrified in any way”. He said that Afghans living in Pakistan are guests and their return plans would be decided in a way that does not create any negative impression in the minds of people living on both sides of the border.
The Cabinet meeting also approved designation of the Investigation Agency under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 and designated Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in this regard.
The Cabinet gave approval to Minutes of the last Cabinet Meeting, agreement between the government of Indonesia and government of Pakistan on Co-operative Activities in the Field of Defence, ratification of the MoU between State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and Central Bank of Jordan on General Cooperation in Expertise and Knowledge Exchange in the field of Banking & Finance as well as approval to sign the Protocol to Amend the SAARC Limited Multilateral Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters.
The meeting also granted permission to start negotiations in principle with the Republic of Belarus for Entering into Memorandum of Understanding on Exchange of Customs Trade Data Statistics, and confirmed decisions taken by the Economic Co-ordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet, Cabinet on Energy (CCE), Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP).
The Cabinet deferred agenda of current status and strategy for growth of exports moved by Ministry of Commerce to the Cabinet for consideration and approval to arrest the falling trend in exports as well as for taking measures to increase exports. -Business Recorder