Islamabad: A Cabinet meeting was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf here today. In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said that in the very first meeting of the Cabinet he had highlighted that addressing the energy crisis would be top priority of his government. The Government is making sincere efforts to enhance capacity of Power Generation Plants to overcome energy crisis. He said the government was committed to achieve energy security though it is a Herculean task but the government was determined to make headway in this sector. The Prime Minister directed that in order to discuss the overall energy situation, a special Cabinet meeting should be held next week to suggest measures to reduce load shedding. In this meeting Ministers for Finance, Water & Power and Petroleum & Natural Resources will brief the Cabinet.
The Prime Minister also stated that Pakistan was the first country to register protest at national level against sacrilegious movie and the Government of Pakistan condemned the movie at all forums. The President, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari while discussing Pak-US ties in the United States, also expressed deep dismay and grief of the people of Pakistan over the blasphemous movie. The Prime Minister added that he was upset to see some miscreants destroying and damaging public and private property on the day of Yum-e-Ishq-e-Rasool (PBUH). However, he was pleased to see the youth who were repairing the damage caused by unruly protesters in the country. Pakistan once again condemned the video and urged the United Nations to formulate strict laws for punishing those who try to damage sanctity of other religions. The President of Pakistan raised the issue at the UN General Assembly last night, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister also expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the worst ever industrial disaster in the country. He said that compensatory cheques of Rs.4 lacs each for the diseased and Rs.1 lac each for the injured of the fire incident were distributed by him. On his own behalf and on behalf of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister expressed deep sorrow and grief over the loss of lives in the fire incident.
The Prime Minister appreciated the efforts of the Minister for Religious Affairs for making excellent Hajj arrangements during the last year and introducing a new and hi-tech tracking system for tracing elderly Pakistan hajjis during the forthcoming Hajj. He expressed the hope that this year too, the Hajj arrangements will also be excellent. He directed that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting should highlight the excellent Hajj arrangements made by the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The Cabinet considered and confirmed decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet in its meetings held on 7th August, 16th August and 4th September 2012.
The Cabinet appreciated the initiative of the Minister for Climate Change, Rana Farooq in obtaining consensus of all stakeholders and prepare a comprehensive policy. Discussing implementation of the Policy, the Prime Minister directed that Islamabad Capital city should be declared a model city and the policy implemented in letter and spirit.
The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval to start negotiations on MoU on Disaster Management between Ministry of Emergency Situations of Kazakhstan and National Disaster Management Authority, Ministry of Climate Change of Pakistan. The Cabinet also approved initiation of negotiations for Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement among Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan and signing of revised draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Government of the Russian Federation for Mutual Defence Cooperation.
The Cabinet also accorded approval for ratification of Inter-Governmental Agreement signed between Government of Pakistan and Government of Italian Republic for Euro 57.75 million support for Citizens Damage Compensation Programme and initiate negotiations on Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan and Qatar in the fields of Health and Medical Sciences.
The Cabinet approved ratification of the charter of Economic Cooperation Organization Educational Institute (ECOEI). The ECO Education Institute aimed to give impetuous to realization of ECO’s objectives outlined in the Treaty of Izmir as well as to promote common welfare of the peoples of the region through ensuring a better education and training. The Cabinet approved signing of agreement with the Republic of Mauritius for Cooperation in the field of Sports.
The Cabinet accorded approval to start negotiations with the Russian Federation for conclusion of agreement on mutual cooperation between the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Law and Justice of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It also accorded approval to start negotiations and signing of MoU between Tunisian Institute of Agricultural Research and Higher Education (IRESA) and Pakistan Agricultural Research Council. The MoU aims to enhance scientific and technical cooperation in agriculture sector.
The Cabinet considered and accorded its approval to sign agreement on promotion and protection of investment with Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Member States. The Cabinet was informed that the ECO is a vast strategic trading region which is well endowed with rich resources i.e. arable land, energy, oil & gas, minerals and human resources. With a total population of about 355.9 million (5.8 percent of the world population), the combined GDP of the ECO countries amounts to US$ 2.708 billion. There is sufficient potential for intra-region trade and investment amongst the member States leading to consistent enhanced business linkages. Signing a multilateral agreement to promote and protect investment with ECO States will be well received within the scope of ECO Vision for the region and enable Pakistan to further cement its economic relations with each member state of the ECO.