ISLAMABAD - The Federal Cabinet has decided to make amendments in existing laws for appointment of heads of various institutions in the country.

This was revealed by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz while briefing the media about decisions taken by the Federal Cabinet in Islamabad.

He said a committee has been constituted in this regard under the supervision of Advisor for Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, which will present its recommendations within a week.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan also sought a report regarding illegal and unlawful appointments in twelve different ministries within one week.

He said Minister for Narcotics Control Azam Khan Swati presented 39 proposals to Prime Minister on electoral reforms. He said PTI government is only political government which believes in a free and fair election process.

Information Minister said that the PM appreciated the proposals and said all the lacunas in the election laws would be addressed so that the people’s trust in the election process was restored and nobody could raise a finger on the transparency of election.

 

He said the PM directed the Cabinet to intensify efforts so that electoral reforms process should be completed as soon as possible.

 

The Minister said that during the discussion on cotton crop, the Prime Minister directed that its support price should be fixed after thorough consultations with all the stakeholders in order to encourage the farmers to sow more cotton as its ratio had dropped during the past two decades. The PM was in favour of giving subsidies on cotton seed and fertiliser, so that poor growers could benefit, he added.

 

He said the Cabinet also approved the names of the members of National Commission on the Status of Women, including Shaista Bukhari from Punjab, Habiba Hassan from Sindh, Rubina Naz Advocate from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fatima Iqbal from Balochistan, Madhiha Sultana from AJK, Sosan Aziz from Gilgit Baltistan and Asia Azeem from the Federal Capital.

 

The Cabinet also approved the decisions taken by the Cabinet’s Committee on Energy and Economic Coordination Committee.

 

The Minister said the PM directed steps for provision of energy to the consumers at affordable rates and reduction of the circular debt. He also directed the minister for energy to complete the process of reformation in various departments of the ministry with a time line.

 

The Information Minister said the Cabinet reviewed the matters pertaining to the audit survey regarding embezzlement at the Karachi Port Trust.

 

He said Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar gave a briefing on the steps being taken to control the coronavirus in the country and presented the report on the situation after relaxation in the lockdown.

 

Addressing the Cabinet meeting, the PM said lockdown was a temporary process which could limit the spread of the virus to some extent but it was necessary to take precautionary measures as much as possible to avoid the pandemic. The decision to ease the lockdown was taken keeping in view the economic situation and the plight of the common man, especially the daily wagers, he added.

 

He said it was observed that generally the people did not adopt precautionary measures and the Cabinet appealed to them to strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as the country could not afford a surge in the coronavirus cases.

 

The Minister said no state had unlimited resources to give subsidies and relief packages to their population for a long time. He said no country could afford continuous lockdown and the decision to ease the countrywide lockdown in Pakistan was taken in view of the difficulties being faced by the poor labour class. The government had limited resources and infrastructure, and continuous lockdown was not possible under the prevailing conditions, he added.

 

The Minister urged the citizens and members of civil society to adopt all necessary precautionary measures, follow guidelines and SoPs, and support government in its endeavours to contain the pandemic.

 

He said around Rs 95 billion have been distributed among people under the Ehsaas emergency cash program so far.

 

He said that the cabinet also approved the Economic Coordination Committee’s decisions made on May 6.

 

Replying to a question, he said PM would attend the Parliament session but opposition leader in National assembly submitted the requisition for NA session and even he did not attend the ongoing session yet. He said PM could not appear in NA session earlier because he was busy in other important matters.

 

Information Minister said the PM’s top priority is to take steps for the betterment of poor people unlike Pakistan Peoples’ Party which chants slogans of “roti, kapra, and makan” and yet it has taken it all away.  He said a debate should be had on the 18th Amendment