New police unit to deal with protests in Islamabad

Published October 13, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan chairing a meeting of the federal cabinet.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet was given a presentation on setting up of a new unit in Islamabad police for “mob handling”, said federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday.

Speaking at a post-cabinet meeting press conference, he said the unit would be well trained and equipped with latest technology, including drones and cameras, to ensure that the residents of the capital were protected from “riots” and did not face inconvenience of road blockade every now and then.

He said the Supreme Court had imposed ban on protests at D-Chowk, but still a handful of people blocked the road there whenever they liked. The new police unit would be a good initiative to protect the capital from protesters, he added.

The minister said the cabinet decided to include Afghan traders in the category of business visa as the volume of goods being traded between the two countries had increased manifold.

Visa fee for Afghan nationals to be waived; cabinet approves online power of attorney for overseas Pakistanis

The government, he said, was keen to encourage legal entry of Afghan people into Pakistan by bringing ease in visa regime to the convenience of Afghan nationals. The minister said the cabinet approved the code of conduct for visa issuance to Afghan nationals.

The visa process for Afghan nationals had also been made online due to huge influx of people coming to the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul to seek visas, he added.

The minister said the cabinet also approved a proposal for giving online visas to foreigners working on various China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and decided to write off visa fee for Afghan nationals.

Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet made a landmark decision to approve online power of attorney for overseas Pakistanis as the government realised the problems faced by them in that regard.

In the past, he said, no government had ever bothered to resolve the problems of expatriates, but the present government gave priority to resolving their issues.

It was the PTI government which took steps for repatriation of hundreds of Pakistani prisoners languishing in foreign jails for petty crimes, he added.

He said the cabinet approved the reconstitution of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s Council of Complaints. Syed Mohammad Ali Bukhari would be the chairman of the council while journalists Mazhar Barlas and Naeem Khan and three women, Nighat Saeed, Batool Zain and Tallat Azeem, would be its members, he added.

Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet approved the Islamabad Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2020 for regulation and promotion of the real estate sector and to protect the interest of buyers in the sector.

He said the cabinet accorded approval to the establishment of Rehmatul-lil-Aalimeen Authority which would work for promoting the real image of Islam and give advice for preparation of a curriculum for children in the light of the life of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him).

The minister said the authority would work for promotion of the traits of tolerance and coexistence in the masses. The love for the Holy Prophet was part and parcel of faith of every Muslim, who was Rehmatul-lil-Aalimeen, not Rehmatul-lil-Muslimeen, but unfortunately this image could not be highlighted in Pakistan in the past, he added.

Mr Chaudhry said the objective of the authority would be to mold the character of the young generation in the light of Seerat-un-Nabi. It would not be a traditional authority as top scholars from not only Pakistan but also from all over the world would be its members, he added.

The minister said the narrative that Islam had spread through love, affection and respect for the other people would be promoted and the rights of minorities, women and children would be protected.

He said that at the outset of the meeting, the cabinet offered Fateha for the departed soul of renowned nuclear scientist Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan. Over 15 ministers, the National Assembly speaker, Senate chairman, chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and naval chief attended his funeral, he said.

It was unfortunate that there was a tendency on social media to make news from rumours without verifying the facts, he regretted.

He appealed to the journalists to demonstrate responsibility and verify the news circulating on social media before reporting to their organisations to counter fake news and propaganda.

The minister said the cabinet was given a briefing on electronic voting machine (EVM). In almost all cabinet meetings, the issues of EVM and grant of voting rights to overseas Pakistanis were discussed, he added.

Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet had decided that overseas Pakistanis would be provided right to franchise at every cost.

In reply to a question, he said Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin was holding talks with the International Monitory Fund and would continue to extend his services as per the law and Constitution.

In response to another question, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan also held the portfolio of minister for overseas Pakistanis and human resources development.

He said the cabinet approved renewal of licences of K2 Air and Air Sial airlines.

The Establishment Division informed the cabinet that out of 80 top posts, 40 had been filled through the process of competition, whereas 18 top posts had been abolished, he added.

None of the 80 appointments had been made in violation of merit, he said, adding that no appointment made by the PTI government had been challenged. The minister said that in the past almost all appointments had been challenged as merit had been violated and this was a big change.

He said the cabinet decided that for admission to two federal government-run medical and dental colleges, merit would be 50 per cent from FSc marks and 50pc from Medical and Dental College Admission Test.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2021

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