Federal Cabinet directs PEMRA to discourage use of media for promotion of narrative of convicted persons

Federal Cabinet directs PEMRA to discourage use of media for promotion of narrative of convicted persons

Federal Cabinet has expressed concern on the use of national electronic and print media to promote the narrative of convicted persons.

Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood while briefing media on decisions taken in cabinet meeting in Islamabad this afternoon said the cabinet took notice that in any democracy the use of media for promotion of personal interests or to put national institutions under pressure by convicted criminals or under trial persons is never allowed.

The cabinet emphasized that the PEMRA should fulfill its responsibilities to discourage such trend.

Prime Minister Imran Khan directed the Advisor on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and Chairman FBR to ensure that prices of essential commodities including flour, ghee and pulses are kept to a reasonable level so that there is no additional burden on people of lower income backgrounds.

He expressed deep concern on the trend of granting extensions in employment to some persons of certain organizations and criteria published in the media to select them.

The Prime Minister said strict action will be taken against the responsible persons of government organizations who show bias or favour while recruiting candidates for public sector jobs.

The cabinet showed concern over the fact that former Federal Minister Khawaja Asif was a salaried employee of a foreign organization during the time of his minister-ship which is not only against his position but also contravened his oath.

The cabinet directed the Interior Ministry to furnish a report after completing investigations of this violation.

The cabinet was given a detailed briefing on number of foreign visits of former President Asif Zardari and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the expenditures incurred to the national exchequer.

Shafqat Mehmood while giving details of the visits said Asif Zardari during his presidency made 134 foreign visits and spent 257 days abroad.

He also took 3,500 people along with him on these trips.

The visits cost 1.42 billion rupees to the national exchequer at a time when the country was under heavy burden of debts.

Shafqat Mehmood said Zardari visited Dubai 51 times and spent 100 million rupees on these visits. Of these, 48 visits were private.

He spent 320 million rupees on 17 visits to the UK.

The Minister said Nawaz Sharif during his time of premiership remained out of country for 262 days.

He spent 1.84 billion rupees on his foreign visits.

Nawaz Sharif visited London 24 times and spent 223.9 million rupees on these trips.

He visited Saudi Arabia 17 times costing 120 million rupees to the treasury.

Shafqat Mahmood said Prime Minister Imran Khan is visiting the USA this month on invitation of President Trump. 

He said it has been decided that Prime Minister will stay at the residence of Pakistani ambassador to the US to save costs. He said every effort will be made to minimize expenditures during this visit.

Advisor to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr. Ishrat Hussain presented a report on reorganization of federal government departments and allied institutions. 

The cabinet gave approval for an implementation committee to implement the recommendations of the report.

The committee will comprise Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, Defense Minister Pervez Khattak, Advisor to Prime Minister Shehzad Arbab, Fakhar Imam and concerned secretaries.

The report states that responsibilities and utilities of 441 departments were reviewed and recommendations made to improve their performance.

It recommended transferring 43 departments to Sarmaya Pakistan Company or for privatization, handing over 14 departments to provincial governments, ICT or Gilgit Baltistan, eight for abolishment, 35 for mergers and 17 for reorganization.

It recommended the federal government to retain 324 organizations under its control. 

The cabinet gave approval of visa on arrival facility to Qatari citizens on reciprocal basis. 

The cabinet accorded approval to Amendment Act, 2019 of Gas Infrastructure Development Cess in order to provide relief to farmers in the use of fertilizers.

It also decided that Lok Virsa and Pakistan National Council of the Arts will be transferred to the National Heritage Division from Information Ministry.

Changing the status of 50 acres of land allocated for proposed university at the PM House was approved by the cabinet also.

The cabinet accorded approval to the appointment of Chairman Port Qasim Authority.   

It also endorsed the decisions of last meeting of the ECC. It expressed satisfaction on availability of enough wheat stocks in the country. 

The cabinet also emphasized for using Pakistan Railways for transportation of oil to increase the revenue of this important department.

It also directed to fully implement the decision of sending all official post through Pakistan Post.