ISLAMABAD - Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has said  that Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team is determined and ready to face the challenge of Coronavirus. She was briefing the media here on Wednesday about decisions taken in cabinet meeting.

She  said that the government is taking timely steps after analysing the evolving situation at the national, regional, and international levels to prevent spread of the virus. She said federal cabinet has also approved to pay profit on tax exemptions on foreign and commercial loans.

She said Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi apprised the PM that his statement regarding lifting of international sanctions from Iran was not only being appreciated by the Iranians but also the International Court of Justice endorsed this suggestion in a decision.

She said the leading role played by Imran Khan, in shaking the world conscience and raising voice in Iran’s support after the coronavirus outbreak there, is being admired at every level.

She said the debt relief programme proposed by the PM and his efforts to take up the idea at international fora including South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Group of 77, was also getting acknowledgment globally.

She said PM said its government’s duty to provide the protection gear to doctors and nurses who are fighting against corovirus in tuff situation. She said China is supplying the medical kits on priority basis.

SAPM said the cabinet underlined the need for engaging youth and overseas Pakistanis in the government efforts to effectively combat the COVID-19. She said a Volunteers Task Force would be formed to guide the youth in assisting destitute and elderly to fight the coronavirus pandemic. She said  structure and roadmap for the Task Force will be announced shortly.

She aid the overseas Pakistan was such an asset of the country that always stood by the nation in testing times and PM had decided to set up an international fund for the coronavirus. Accordingly, a roadmap would be prepared in due course of time.

SAPM said the amount for per acre land of evacuee properties in Nankana Sahib has been approved to 45,000 rupees. She said National History and Literary Heritage Division has been renamed as National Heritage and Culture Division.

Dr. Awan said the cabinet was also briefed about economic indicators, which are showing improvement. She said the current account deficit reduced by 31 percent, trade balance improved by 34 percent, foreign remittances increased by 5.4 percent ($15.1 billion), and the prices of essential items registered significant decrease.

SAPM said federal cabinet directed the Ministry of Science and Technology to appoint the Chief Executives of its departments as soon as possible. She said the federal cabinet had also directed to the Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Commerce to send their recommandations related to National Electric Vehicle Policy to “Economic Coordination Committee” for detail consultation on it.

She said federal cabinet has also given the approval of formation of Board of SME Bank.

SAPM said the federal cabinet has also given approval of a three month extension in service of Chief Executive of Ignite National Technology Fund.

Replying to a question, she said the pathetic condition of health and other sectors in Punjab had fully exposed the so-called performance of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif, who ruled the province as chief minister for a decade. The Sharifs should better bring back the looted money, which they had stashed abroad, so that the same could be used for the betterment of the people of the county.

She asks the opposition should better help the government in efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus in the country, she stressed, regretting the absence of Pakistan Peoples Party Chariman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Shehbaz Sharif, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, from the orientation session of parliamentary leaders hosted by NA Speaker Asad Qaiser.

She said the opposition should avoid criticism for the sake of criticism as the government would welcome positive suggestions from them.

SAPM said all the political parties should register their suggestions regarding containing of the coronavirus at the forum of the parliament and the Prime Minister Office. She said the political parties should also realize their obligation to mobilize the entire nation in the fight against the pandemic. All the stakeholders should play their due role under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan in rooting out the menace from the country, she added.