ISLAMABAD – Besides taking serious notice of the absence of some secretaries to respond to the agenda items related to them during the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday reprimanded certain ministers as well, asking them not to confine to their respective constituencies only and properly monitor the affairs of the ministries.

The prime minister expressed his annoyance as the secretaries concerned did not attend the meeting to brief the cabinet. He directed them to ensure their presence in connection with discussion of their agenda items, sources told TheNation.

“The prime minister directed the ministers to show their visibility in all the provinces. They should also keep in touch with the workers and monitor their ministries’ affair properly,” Minister for Information Firdous Ashiq Awan said, while addressing a press conference, after the cabinet meeting. She was flanked by BISP Chairperson Farzana Raja.

To a question about any progress in late Benazir Bhutto’s murder case, Minister said a mindset was behind the assassination. “One thing is clear; it is not the act of an individual as a mindset is behind it. It’s an international conspiracy in which some local and international players are involved,’’ she maintained.

To a question about the name of new prime minister if Gilani is removed for any reason, she said the PPP was not expecting such situation. “It’s too early to comment and if it does happen, the matter will be sorted out while taking the allied parties into confidence,” she added.

When asked about appointment of the chief election commissioner, Firdous said the prime minister and the leader of opposition in the National Assembly would jointly decide the matter, adding that Gilani would hold a meaningful consultation with the opposition leader, as required after the passage of 20th Amendment.

The information minister also dispelled the impression that the PPP-led government was following an anti-media policy. “Media is our partner. It is our power. We will never adopt any anti-media policy,” she added.

When asked about performance of the BISP, Farzana said only poor people were being facilitated through programme after an authentic survey, including over 0.4 million in Balochistan.

Giving details of the meeting, Firdous said the cabinet reviewed the implementation status of its decisions pertaining to the Privatisation, Production and Railways divisions, adding that 50 per cent decisions pertaining to Production and Privatisation, and 45 per cent about Pakistan Railways had been executed.

The cabinet also discussed progress made in restructuring of Pakistan Steels Mill, she said, adding that the prime minister also ordered presentation of a comprehensive plan in the next cabinet meeting.

Firdous also informed about the launch of special website (www. achievement.gov.pk) on the government’s four years performance.

The meeting also give approval to the confirmation of the decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in on March 13.

The cabinet was also briefed on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the week ending on March 15 and told that the prices of the many daily use items were on the rise.

It accorded approval to start negotiations and signing of an agreement Italy to ensure 57.75 million euro support for the Citizens Damage Compensation Programme II (CDCP-II).

The cabinet also approved signing of agreement on the transfer of offenders between Pakistan and Uzbekistan, and equal treatment for contribution in the Research and Development Fund for Fixed Line and Mobile Operators.

It approved in principle initiating negotiations and signing of the agreement between Saarc Disaster Management Authority and NDMA about the South Asia Disaster Knowledge Network besides with the Ev-K2-CNR on Memorandum of Understanding on Climate Change and Adaptation Measures. The Everest, K2 Centre for Research (Ev-K2-CNR) has proposed signing of MoU with the Global Change Impact Study Centre (GCISC) to facilitate implementation and coordination of research activities in Pakistan.

During the cabinet meeting, Farzana Raja briefed the participants on the BISP and its achievements to eradicate extreme and chronic poverty and empowerment of women.

Addressing the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Gilani said the BISP had earned a worldwide recognition as an effective social safety programme and the developing countries were advised by the UN secretary-general to replicate the same.

He also constituted a committee consisting of information and interior ministers, BISP chairperson and the prime minister’s special assistant in the social sector to formulate a strategy to create awareness among the people about the programme.