PM orders timely availability of food items

Published November 10, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the relevant authorities to ensure strict monitoring and timely availability of all food basket commodities. — DawnNewsTV/File
Prime Minister Imran Khan has directed the relevant authorities to ensure strict monitoring and timely availability of all food basket commodities. — DawnNewsTV/File

• Grills economic team for failing to check inflation • Imran to participate in SCO summit virtually

ISLAMABAD: With the opposition up in arms against the government over shortage of some food items and price hike, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday directed the relevant authorities to ensure strict monitoring and timely availability of all food basket commodities.

Mr Khan assailed his economic team for failing to overcome the crisis that has given the opposition a chance to hurl allegations against the government.

According to the PM Office, Mr Khan met Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam and received a detailed briefing on the availability of food items, their shortage and prices.

During the meeting, matters relating to the introduction of modern seed technology and its importance in enhancing productivity were also discussed.

At a separate meeting, the prime minister expressed annoyance at his economic team for not tackling the situation and failing to apprise people of the government’s achievements in overcoming the crisis.

“The prime minister expressed his dissatisfaction over the food crisis and inflation and was of the view that his economic team had so far failed to give a robust response to the opposition’s allegations,” a participant of the meeting, who did not want to be named, told Dawn.

He said the prime minister asked his team to go to media to inform people about the steps taken by the government so far to tackle shortage of essential food items, especially wheat flour and sugar, hoarding, inflation and the international effect on the prices.

PM Khan directed his team to utilise all its energies to address economic issues, especially those directly affecting the masses. The source said the meeting discussed the campaign being run by the opposition Pakistan Democratic Movement and ways to counter it, adding that the prime minister asked the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders to expedite the party’s election campaign in Gilgit-Baltistan.

The post-US elections situation arising after the victory of Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden also came under discussion.

PM Imran to participate in SCO summit

Prime Minister Khan will participate in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on Tuesday (today), which is being held virtually, the Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

The meeting of the Council of Heads of State (SCO-CHS), which is the highest forum of the eight-member political and security bloc, is being held virtually for the first time since its inception nearly 20 years ago because of Covid-19 pandemic.

Leaders from all eight SCO member states — China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan — and four observer states — Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia — will attend the session.

Additionally, UN Secretary General António Guterres and SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov will also participate.

On its conclusion, the summit will adopt “16 documents including Moscow Declaration”, the FO said.

These documents and declaration, which would set the priorities of the bloc for future, would reflect “member states’ stance on important regional and international issues”, it added.

SCO had in an earlier statement said the participating leaders will discuss ways to promote cooperation within the framework of the organisation, including in the context of the global political and socioeconomic consequences of the pandemic.

“They will focus on ways to promote the SCO member states’ practical interaction in politics, security, trade and the economy, cultural and humanitarian ties as well as political dialogue, above all in the interests of stability in the SCO space. They will also discuss the enhancement of their countries’ trade and economic collaboration and coordination at the main international venues,” the statement reads.

SCO’s major objectives include promoting mutual confidence and good-neighbourly relations among member states, strengthening regional peace, security and stability and creating a framework for effective cooperation in political, cultural, trade and economy, science and technology, education, energy, transportation, tourism, environmental protection and other fields.

Pakistan joined SCO as a full member in 2017. Pakistan, the FO said, had since then been actively contributing to the promotion of SCO’s multi-sectoral agenda through participation in the organisation’s various mechanisms.

Baqir Sajjad Syed also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2020

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