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Arshad to keep PIA slot after retiring from PAF

Top Story

July 8, 2020

Arshad to keep PIA slot after retiring from PAF

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet meeting, held here on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, formally approved the increase in petroleum products prices, announced on June 26, 2020.

The cabinet declared the government policy to deal with the coronavirus pandemic practical and successful so far. The meeting also issued instructions for launching phase two of the Ehsaas Cash Programme. Approval was also given for bringing an amendment to national drug policy and also making the anti-money laundering law stricter. The cabinet meeting was informed about action against suspicious licence-holder pilots.

Federal Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz, later giving briefing to the media, said the cabinet decided to launch the second phase of Ehsaas Cash Emergency Programme to mitigate sufferings of weaker and vulnerable segments of society. He said that in the first phase after lockdown, Rs150 billion were disbursed among the deserving/ vulnerable families. The PM directed Dr Sania Nishtar and Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh for starting preparation for the second phase of the Ehsaas Emergency Cash Programme so that the poor segments of society could be provided financial assistance.

The information minister said that 28 pilots had been dismissed from service, whose licences were found suspicious, and disciplinary proceedings were completed against them. He read out a statement and said proceedings against the remaining were continuing and would be expedited; both disciplinary and criminal proceedings. “Those whose licences were found suspicious in the inquiry have all been grounded. All others are cleared. All stakeholders, both domestic and international, have been informed. “Actions have been initiated against those culpable – both in the PIA and CAA,” he noted. The minister said, “Incidentally, all the suspicious licences were issued from 2010 to 2018 during the PPP and PML-N governments and it is evident that they corrupted the system to do so. “This government believes in reforming the systems, institutions and to expose and take action against such organised mafias. This would continue without fear or favour. The government has already started the process to reform the PIA and the CAA.” A detailed briefing on the Pakistani pilots matter was also given to the federal cabinet. Commenting on the issues relating to Pakistani pilots, the minister said the government was taking steps to secure air travel as well as strengthen the engineering side of the Pakistan International Airlines.

Earlier, the federal cabinet Tuesday approved the appointment of Air Marshal Arshad Malik as chief executive of the Pakistan International Airline for another three years, after his retirement from the PAF.

The cabinet meeting also decided to suspend proposed amendments to the FATF 2017 Act. The cabinet also discussed a strict law to control money laundering, which had badly affected national exports and resulted in flight of capital from the country in the past.

The meeting also discussed a 10-point agenda and reviewed the country’s political, economic and security situation. A presentation, the minister explained, was given to the cabinet on the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic in the country and the meeting expressed satisfaction and happiness over the fact that with the blessings of Almighty Allah and the government’s prudent strategy, the virus had not caused as much destruction as it had in many other countries.

About dealing with the challenge of Covid-19 pandemic, Shibli Faraz said the government had formulated strict rules and regulations to avoid spread of the virus and the district administrations had been directed to strictly ensure implementation of the special precautionary measures on the upcoming Eidul Azha. The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced celebrating Eidul Azha at his residence and he also made an appeal to the people to celebrate the occasion while staying inside their homes, instead of mixing with others. The cabinet emphasised that people must follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) so that the situation, confronted in the wake of Eidul Fitr was not repeated on Eidul Azha.

He said that some political parties tried to make the government handling of the coronavirus a political issue. However, due to sagacious strategy, adopted by Prime Minister Imran Khan, which was formulated in line with the ground realities, had proven very successful. He reminded that several countries having robust economies and far modern health infrastructure had failed to cope with the pandemic, which was proof of success of the government strategy. The minister pointed out that the Pakistan's National Command and Operation Centre, nerve centre of entire activity against corona, was appreciated worldwide.

He said it was a big achievement that Pakistan had only two corona testing labs in February, but now there were 129 such labs. At the time of the outbreak of the pandemic, Pakistan had shortage of personal protective equipment, but now with the grace of Allah, not only there was no such shortage but Pakistan was exporting indigenously prepared equipment. The Imperial College study, he noted, had also proved that Pakistan's strategy to cope with the pandemic was successful as the graph was falling now.

Despite economic losses due to the corona, he explained, the government presented a tax-free budget for which the federal cabinet appreciated the performance of Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

He said the cabinet was given an update on the implementation of recommendations of the sugar inquiry commission. Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar told the meeting that a sugar reform committee had been constituted, which would monitor the entire supply chain from sugarcane purchase to supply of sugar to markets and help supply sugar at affordable prices to consumers. The cabinet also gave approval of appointment of Rahat Konain Hassan as Chairperson, Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) and Shumaila Lone and Mujtaba Lodhi as its members for three years. He said that in the past, like all other national institutions, former rulers appointed cronies to the CCP, who benefited their masters. Now, the CCP members would protect the rights of consumers by acting against cartelisation, and fleecing of the public.