ISLAMABAD – Chairing the federal cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf on Thursday reiterated government’s commitment to eradicate terrorism and militancy, and said orders have been issued for carrying out a stern action against all the banned outfits without any discrimination.

The prime minister also expressed condolence over the loss of lives in the Abbas Town blast in Karachi. “I offer heartfelt condolences to the families who lost their dear ones in this incident,” he said.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that the general elections will be held well in time in a fair and transparent way, adding that the judiciary‚ the media and the Election Commission are independent and free‚ therefore there is no question of poll rigging.

He said the government made successful efforts to improve the national economy besides providing basic amenities of life to the people during its five-year tenure.

The prime minister said terrorism is a big challenge to the country and all political forces will have to work collectively to curb the menace.

He termed the All Parties Conferences convened by the Awami National Party and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F as a positive step to eliminate terrorism.

He commended the Army’s role in the fight against terrorism, and said the government boosted the morale of the Army, which gained a remarkable success especially in Swat.

The federal cabinet also decided to provide 12 billion rupees subsidy on agricultural tubewells for farmers.

The cabinet, which will have another special meeting before dissolution of the National Assembly, also approved Rs 3.2 trillion budget strategy papers for the next financial year.

Later, in a press briefing about proceedings of the cabinet, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the federal cabinet extended provincial quota in federal jobs for another 20 years.

He said the meeting also allowed import of non-prohibited bore arms to curb smuggling. He said these arms could only be purchased by licence-holders.

The cabinet allowed Unaccounted-For Gas (UFG) at 50 per cent of the demand made by the gas companies as an interim relief to them. It formed a committee to determine the pricing formula and the exact volume of the UFG within three months.

The Cabinet Committee on Prevention of Corruption’s 12-point recommendations were also approved.

Kaira said a review of the performance of the present cabinet was also presented before the meeting. He said the cabinet held 130 meetings and made 1,561 decisions. Out of them‚ 1,227 have already been implemented and the remaining 334 are under implementation, he added.

Finance Minister Saleem Mandviwalla said the Budget Strategy Document 2013-16 was presented before the cabinet.

APP adds: The PM said: “I am confident that the masses would acknowledge the service rendered by this government despite financial constraints and adverse regional situation.”

He said the National Assembly was going to complete its term on March 16 and added the government has always been committed to holding elections on time and create history by ensuring the transfer of power by a political government as required under the Constitution.

“We can take pride that we are delivering on this commitment. I am sure that this would go a long way in strengthening democracy in this country,” he said.

“Let me say that our Government never betrayed the people because our roots are in the masses. The Government has been in office since 2008 and has introduced many wide ranging structural reforms in political, economic, constitutional and social disciplines,” the PM said.