ISLAMABAD: Basic civic issues will continue to persist in many parts of the country as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Tuesday turned down the demand of federal ministers for release of development funds for their constituencies.

The ministers attending a federal cabinet meeting, which was presided over by the prime minister, demanded that the promised funds be released for development activities in their constituencies so that they could go again to the people before general elections, a senior federal minister told Dawn.

“As development funds promised for their constituencies had not been released, some cabinet members complained that people have been suffering from basic issues such as water shortage, dilapidated sewerage system and broken roads,” he said.

The minister said it had already been decided by the top leadership of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) that no development funds would be given to the individuals (MNAs) as funds would be spent on mega development projects. “Prime Minister Abbasi followed this policy and refused to give development fund to the legislators,” he added.

Cabinet asks provincial governments to ensure sugar mills make prompt payment to farmers as per official rate of sugar cane

However, it was learnt that some blue-eyed MNAs of the ruling party, including retired Capt Mohammad Safdar, son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had received billions of rupees for development in his constituency. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken notice of alleged irregularities in uplift schemes being executed in the constituency of Mr Safdar.

In the past, the Pakistan Peoples Party government used to give funds to lawmakers for development schemes in their respective constituencies.

Taking up the issues being faced by sugar cane growers, the cabinet directed the provincial governments to ensure that sugar mills make prompt payment to farmers as per official rate of sugar cane.

The meeting also approved a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of information between Pakistan and Tajikistan. It also approved the signing of an MoU for cooperation in the field of labour and training between Pakistan and the Sultanate of Oman.

The cabinet approved the signing of arrangements for mutual cooperation in the field of justice administration between Pakistan and Tunisia. It also accorded approval to enforcement of the Costs of Litigation Act, 2017, with effect from March 1.

The meeting also gave approval to the appointment of district and sessions judge Khawaja Wajihuddin as judge of the Banking Court-I, Peshawar, as recommended by the Peshawar High Court chief justice. A proposal regarding appointment of district and sessions judge Syed Kausar Abbas Zaidi as judge of the Special Court (Anti-Terrorism-I), Islamabad, was approved.

A proposal for notifying maximum retail price of various drugs as well as reduction in prices of drugs in line with the Drug Pricing Policy was also approved.

The cabinet directed the Ministry of National Health Services to expedite the process of appointment of regular CEO of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan after appointing Dr Sheikh Akhtar Hussain on the post for a period of three months.

The meeting approved the appointment of members of the board of birectors of Pakistan State Oil and Pakistan Petroleum Limited. The cabinet also accorded approval to the legislation in respect of establishment of Institute of Science and Technology, Bahawalpur.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2018


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