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China visit to pay dividends soon: PM


Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a cabinet meeting. — APP/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a cabinet meeting. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan claimed on Thursday that his maiden visit to China was “successful” and Pakistan would reap its benefits in the days to come.

Apprising the federal cabinet of his recent visit to China, the prime minister said Pakistan and China had never signed such pacts which were done during his official visit. “The visit to China was more successful than expected as the host country has assured Pakistan of every kind of assistance,” he added.

The cabinet also took some other important decisions, including formation of a new board of the Secu­rities and Exchange Comm­i­ssion of Pakistan (SECP), publication of sixth tax directories of common taxpayers and parliamentarians by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), top appointments, protective custody of several individuals and approval of treaties for exchange of prisoners with the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The prime minister said that for the first time in the history of Pakistan-China relationship, Beijing assur­ed Islamabad of its full support in the agriculture sector.

Cabinet decisions include approval of new SECP board, protective custody of individuals and treaties for prisoners exchange with UK, Ireland

Briefing media on the cabinet meeting, Informa­tion Minister Fawad Chau­dhry termed the prime minister’s visit to China “very successful”.

“We have no example of such a successful visit of the prime minister to China.” He said details of the agreements signed bet­ween Pakistan and China would come to the fore in the next few days.

The information minister said that following the visit of the prime minister, the issue of the balance of payments had been settled, adding that the country’s economic crunch would be no more as talks with the International Monetary Fund were under way.

He lamented that the media had run a false story that Aasia Bibi had flown out of Pakistan after her release form jail. “These misleading reports could have caused bloodshed in the country,” he regretted.

During the cabinet meeting, the prime minister app­ro­ved a summary empowering the FBR to issue sixth directories of common taxpayers and parliamentarians. The cabinet also app­rov­ed appointment of Rizwan Memon as chairman of the Trading Cor­poration of Pakistan.

On the recommendations of the interior ministry, the cabinet gave its approval for taking several individuals into protective custody.

A number of international agreements were also approved, including treaties for exchange of prisoners with England and Ireland. The cabinet approved formation of a new SECP board headed by Khalid Mirza.

The information minister said the cabinet had approved formation of a task force for restructuring the Evacuee Trust Property Board. The task force will be headed by former State Bank governor Dr Ishrat Hussain.

He said the cabinet app­roved issuance of licence to Liberty Air Limited for launching a new airline.

The cabinet approved the appointment of senior bureaucrat Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera as secretary of the Board of Investment.

The information minister said a deadlock between the government and the opposition on the issue of appointment of chairman of the Public Accounts Committee persisted, adding that the government could not accept Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif as PAC chairman.

Mr Chaudhry reiterated that the government would not make any NRO-like deal with the opposition leader facing corruption cases. “Everything will be okay with the opposition, if their NAB cases are closed down. They [opposition] should keep in mind that Prime Minister Imran Khan will never make any ‘deal’ with them,” he said.

Responding to a question about Minister for Information Technology Senator Azam Swati, who recently faced embarrassment in the Supreme Court for allegedly encroaching upon state land adjacent to his farmhouse in the federal capital and managing to get the Islamabad police chief removed, Mr Chaudhry said there was no possibility of resignation of Mr Swati. “Why we should remove Mr Swati?” he asked.

Answering a question about the proposed amendment to NAB laws, he said a task force headed by Law Minister Farogh Naseem was working on it and would soon submit its recommendations.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2018