ISLAMABAD - The federal cabinet Tuesday approved a plan to construct a 600MW Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant in Jamshoro with the help of Russia.

Pakistan and Russia had been in talks since the last year on the project. The two sides have already discussed the feasibility.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi approved “initiation of agreement between Russia and Pakistan on Cooperation for Construction of 600MW Natural Gas Combined Cycle Power Plant at Jamshoro,” said an official statement.

It added: “On agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of Pakistan for the construction of 600MW natural gas combined cycle Power Plant at Jamshoro, the Cabinet authorised the Power Division to negotiate the details of draft Framework Agreement and bring the agreed version before the cabinet. It would also finalise the terms and conditions of the loan in consultation with the Economic Affairs Division(EAD) and the Finance Division.”

Pakistan’s new foreign policy focuses on enhancing ties with Russia while retaining the ‘all-weather friendship’ with China.

After the recent ‘envoys conference here, a senior foreign ministry official had told The Nation: “Ties with Russia are already improving so we have given it importance. The objective is to have another power with us.”

Last month, Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammed Asif had said Pakistan was undergoing a ‘seismic shift’ and needed to find a ‘correct direction’ without any delay. The statement came after US President Donald Trump snubbed Pakistan in August.

The federal cabinet also approved signing of Financial Cooperation Agreement 2015 with Germany and Memorandum of Understanding of Pak-China Cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property.

The cabinet also approved establishment of Insurance Tribunals at Lahore and Multan. A cabinet member who attended the meeting told The Nation that the re-election of ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief was also discussed during the meeting.

“The Prime Minister (Shahid Khaqan Abbasi) and the whole team agreed that Nawaz Sharif will be in a better position to lead the government’s policies as the ruling party’s head. Everybody welcomed his return,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif was re-elected unopposed as the PML-N President earlier in the day for four years in the intra-party elections. He was removed as the PML-N President by the Election Commission of Pakistan in July after the Supreme Court disqualified him.

He said Prime Minister Abbasi told the cabinet that relations with the United States were improving after the sidelines meetings in New York during the United Nations General Assembly. Abbasi said Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif was in the United States to hold a meeting with his counterpart Rex Tillerson. “This will help remove misunderstandings between the two countries,” the premier was quoted as saying.

The official statement said the cabinet approved exemption to Pakistan International Airlines Corporation Limited from fee payable at 0.1 per cent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange and supervisory fee payable at 10 per cent to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan of Pakistan Stock Exchange fee on issuance of additional shares. The meeting approved ratification of the Statute of the ECO Regional Centre for Cooperation of Anti-Corruption Agencies and Ombudsman.

It also accorded approval to amend the existing Convention between Pakistan and Korea for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income for Updation of Article on Exchange of Information.

The meeting gave approval to amend the existing Convention between Pakistan and Qatar for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income for Updation of Article on Exchange of Information. It also accorded approval to amend the existing Convention between Pakistan and Canada for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income for Updation of Article on exchange of information. The cabinet approved appointment of Air Marshal Ahmer Shehzad as Chairman Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Board, Kamra.

The meeting also approved extension in contract period of Omar Arshad Hakeem, Judicial Member (BS-21) Customs Appellate Tribunal Bench-II, Lahore. The cabinet approved appointment of Judge Banking Court-I, Hyderabad.  Secretary, Parliamentary Affairs Division briefed the cabinet on working of the Ministry, said the statement.