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Cabinet orders go-ahead for MFN status to India
 
 
 




ISLAMABAD  – The federal cabinet has directed the trade ministry to immediately implement the order about granting India the status of most favoured nation (MFN).In a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday, the cabinet also declared that the PPP-led coalition government would complete its term and won’t succumb to any unconstitutional pressure tactics.In his opening remarks, the prime minister vowed that the PPP-led government will not let anyone derail democracy in the country as countless sacrifices have been made for it and parliamentary system will further be strengthened.He said the government is going to complete its tenure and is heading towards elections, and they consider elections as ‘Amanat’ which will be conducted in accordance with the constitution. He termed extremism, militancy and intolerance as big challenges and reiterated to fight out these evils.The PM said, “As a New Year resolution, we pledge to fight out terrorism and other evils with the blessing of Allah and support of patriotic forces of the country.” He said that the sacrifices of all those who have embraced Shahadaat will never go waste and a time will definitely come when these terrorists will be defeated.The PM said the world knows that we have lost 30,000 civilian men, women and children and more than 5,000 armed forces personnel and billions of dollars. “We have resolved to use all available resources to crush it (terrorism) therefore the terrorists have increased their attacks to destabilise the government.”The cabinet offered Fateha for Bashir Ahmed Bilour and all those who lost their lives in terrorists attacks, including the recent killing of 21 Levies force personnel and polio vaccinators, and condemned Peshawar airport attack, the recent explosion in Mastung which killed 19 pilgrims and blast in Karachi wherein four people lost their lives.Later briefing the media about the meeting, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that Tehrik-e-Minhajul Quran (TMQ) chief Dr Tahirul Qadri posed no threat to any political party, and he asked him to get his party registered first, if he desired to contest the election.“No political party feels threat from Dr Qadri as he is talking of the Constitution. But he should explain if he would contest the election. If yes, he should register his party,” Kaira said. He said Qadri should explain his reform agenda to the media if he was hesitant to discuss it with the government or opposition.Kaira said Tehrir Square like uprisings in Egypt were no solution to the issues as the Pakistan People Party has faced even more serious circumstances while fighting against the regimes of Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf. “Now a working democracy exists in the country, which is sensitive to the people’s issues,” Kaira said.To a question, the minister said the vague slogans had always damaged the democracy and added that Qadri should have reached the country some six months ago when the electoral reforms were being introduced. “Even now, the election commission was ready to listen to his proposals, and to forward these to the parliament for legislation. Only the parliament, not the ECP has mandate to make laws,” he said.He said the federal government would ensure protection of lives and properties of the participants of long march; however the respective provincial governments should also ensure the same. He said it is yet to be decided whether the elections of national and provincial assemblies will be held separately or simultaneously as the former method would involve huge financial implication.When asked about the poll date, Kaira said it would take place before May 16 as the date would mark the completion of caretaker set up. Responding to another question, he said it would be unfair to drag the military into politics as the institution has already clarified its position. He said the constitution provided roadmap for the caretaker setup, but the military and the judiciary had nothing to do with this process.Kaira said the cabinet reviewed status of implementation of its decisions pertaining to Human Rights and Industries Divisions, and approved the decisions taken by the ECC meetings held last month.He said a presentation was given to the cabinet on the consumer price index in the country to oversee and discuss the trend of price of essential commodities. The cabinet expressed satisfaction that consumer price index remained in single digit during December 2012.The cabinet approved Annual Report of the National Economic Council (NEC) for the financial year 2011-12, and it asked the ministry of production and the provincial governments to ensure timely payment of product to sugarcane growers and collection of crop from the fields to enable them sow new crop.The cabinet also directed the production ministry to ensure implementation of government’s plan to open 1,000 Utility Stores. It considered the policy guidelines under Section 21 of Ogra Ordinance, 2002 and decided to form a three-member committee for policy guidelines which will report within three days.The cabinet accorded approval to amendments in the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design Act, 2011, and signing of MoU by National Language Promotion Department and Iran’s Academy of Persian Language and Literature. It approved ratification of MoU on Defence Cooperation signed with Italy and accorded ex-post facto approval of signing of the defence agreement between Bosnia and Pakistan.

 
 
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