South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

By: Javaid-ur-rahman
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani Wednesday directed Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) and Ministry of Commerce to work hand-in-hand to rein in the menace of smuggling in the country.
“Emphasising the need to promote local industry, PM also directed the Interior Ministry to close all the avenues of smuggling”, said Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira as he was addressing a press conference after the cabinet meeting.
PM also directed for bringing down the tariff on those items that were being smuggled and termed the menace of smuggling as cancer for any economy, said Kaira adding that therefore PM had decided to go for tariff adjustment.
The Cabinet also approved in principle the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement under which Afghanistan would be allowed to carry their goods to India. As per agreement, Pakistani trucks, in return, would be allowed to go through Afghanistan to Central Asia, Iran and Turkey.
The trade agreement was beneficial for the country, Kaira said, as Pakistan could take its trade volume up to $ 2 billion through it to the Central Asian states via Afghanistan. The Information Minister added that under the said treaty Afghanistan would not be in a position to import goods from India via Pakistani land.
Giving the details about flood situation, Kaira informed that floodwaters had receded in almost all the affected areas of the country. “Floods have receded 90 percent in Punjab, 98 percent in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and around 14 percent in Sindh,” Kaira informed. He said further that NHA, Railways, and other related departments were working hard to revive the road and rail infrastructure.
Talking about Watan Card scheme, he informed that Rs 65 billion had been distributed among 3,27,165 Watan Cards holders. He said 1,35,981 Watan Cards had been distributed in Sindh and 7159 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and 1,84,831 in the province of Punjab adding that Balochistan Government was yet to provide the relevant data of the affectees.
Kaira informed that the Cabinet had also approved the decisions of the ECC meeting and gave an ex-facto approval for a programme with a cost of $980 million being jointly launched by FDA, ADB and the Pakistan Government which would help deal with the energy crisis efficiently.
He said the Cabinet also gave approval for an agreement with Egypt with regard to technical training, etc to be exchanged between the two countries. The Cabinet also gave approval for a loan assistance agreement with Korea for $180 million for the construction of infrastructure and development of health, education and renewable energy projects.
The Cabinet also gave approval for an autonomous status to Pakistan Housing Authority (PHA). He further said that the Cabinet was informed that 85 percent decisions of the Cabinet had been implemented vis-à-vis Narcotics Control Board, Board of Investment and Commerce Division.
Source: The Nation – 07.10.2010