ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting on Thursday.—INP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting on Thursday.—INP

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to establish 18 markets along Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders with a view to boosting trade with the two countries and curbing the menace of smuggling.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday. He also gave the nod to a plan for setting up three border markets as a pilot project — two in Balo­chistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These three markets will start operation by February next year.

The meeting decided that stern steps would be taken to check smuggling. Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and other high officials attended the meeting.

The prime minister was apprised that an ordinance had been promulgated to curb smuggling of basic food items and currency as it empowered law enforcement agencies to take action against such illegal activities at the country’s airports and borders.

In another meeting of the National Coordination Committee on housing construction and development, the prime minister stressed the need for revising the master plan of Karachi in a shortest possible time so that the metropolis could be protected from basic civic problems like dilapidated drainage and sewerage system, shortage of water and poor transport facilities etc.

Emphasising the need for urban forestry, the prime minister directed the provinces to protect green areas, rather increase them, in major cities.

He urged the chief secretaries of four provinces to promote digitilisation of land record to eliminate corruption and Patwari culture in the society.

The chief secretary of Punjab informed the meeting about approval of applications regarding construction and housing through an online portal. His counterparts from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and Sindh informed the prime minister that online portals had been introduced in their provinces also.

The chief secretary of Sindh told the prime minister that master plans of 17 major cities in the province were being revised. He said master plans of three cities had been improved and those of six other cities would be revamped by December this year.

The chief secretary of KP said master plans of Peshawar and Mardan were being revised in the first phase. He said a master plan for erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas was also being improved.

Austrian World Summit

Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the Austrian World Summit on climate change through video link and urged the world community to make a joint effort to save climate.

He apprised the world that Pakistan was making all out efforts to protect climate and the government was implementing a plan to plant 10 billion trees in the country.

“Our glaciers are melting fast and we realised it a decade ago when our government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa planted one billion trees. Now we have decided to plant 10 billion trees,” he added.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2020

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