Tabling of mini-budget in parliament deferred

Published December 29, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday. — PID
Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a meeting of the federal cabinet on Tuesday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) of the country but deferred approval of the supplementary finance bill [mini-budget] which was scheduled to be tabled in the National Assembly on Wednesday (today).

In a significant decision, the cabinet ordered publication of members of parliament (MPs) 2019 tax directory and observed that “no other sector has as much accountability as politicians”.

“The cabinet deferred [approval of] the [supplementary finance] bill today as it wants a threadbare discussion on it before presenting it to the parliament for passage,” Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said in a post-cabinet meeting press conference. He said a special meeting of the cabinet would be held soon on a one-point agenda — the supplementary finance bill. He said the bill would be presented in the current session of the parliament and an initial discussion on the draft was held in the cabinet meeting.

Cabinet approves National Security Policy; orders publication of parliament members tax directory

National Security Policy

The minister said the federal cabinet had approved the country’s first-ever NSP which was unveiled by the high-powered National Security Committee on Monday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair.

“It is for the first time that economic strategy has been linked with geostrategic policy because if economy of a country is not strong, its security cannot be guaranteed. Until the common man is satisfied with the economic, social and legal situation, the security of the country will remain in danger,” he said.

Describing salient features of the policy, the minister said the document would be shared with the media within 10 days, adding that the National Security Policy focused on the common man.

The work on the policy, he said, was started in 2014 and the policy got approval in 2021, which means it took almost nine years for its preparation after input from 18 different ministries.

The minister claimed that there had never been a consensus on national security policy and it was for the first time that the present government had incorporated points of view of all stakeholders.

“For the first time we have passed an important milestone under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” he added.

He said policies of other related ministries, including internal policy and food security policy, were also linked with the National Security Policy.

Speaking at the same press conference, National Security Adviser (NSA) Dr Moeed Yusuf termed the NSP the country’s first ever comprehensive citizen-centric security policy based on economic security. “I would like to congratulate the nation on this successful endeavor because if any country has unclear national security vision, then policy making under it is very difficult,” he added.

“The policy focuses on overall aspects of national security and it has been decided that economic security would be the core of the policy. Strong economy would ensure more spending on military and human security,” he added.

Underlining the need for external initiatives, he said the policy’s objective was peace. “Search of peace in the neighborhood and all other countries.”

Mr Yusuf said: “We are an Islamic state and have an ideology of an Islamic country. Therefore, the policy aspects of national cohesion should revolve around the nation’s diversity. All aspects of diversity would be taken along with other elements of NSP.”

He said human security aspects of NSP had core focus on population followed by health security, climate, water, food security and gender.

The main points, he said, like external imbalance, export and import issues leading to increased current account deficit, energy security and education, were included in economy as education’s one component -- namely unity and radicalisation -- was related to national security.

The NSA said the second important concern of Pakistan was to produce quality human resources that would cast ultimate impact on economy at the local level and this was discussed under the chapter of economic security.

The other elements of the policy shed light on sovereignty and territorial integrity meaning hard security related to defence and military security.

Pointing towards criticism over absence of private sector, academia and experts from formulation of the policy, Di Yusuf said over 600 experts hailing from academia and private sector and including university students were engaged to provide their input for creating the NSP.

He said Prime Minister Khan had directed the National Security Division (NSD) to give monthly update on implementation of the NSP and problems being faced in its implementation.

MPs tax directory

In another landmark decision, the information minister said, the cabinet had ordered publication of MPs 2019 tax directory, adding no other sector had as much accountability as politicians. “The foundation of a government is based on transparency,” he added.

Mr Chaudhry said on the recommendation of the Finance Ministry, the cabinet gave approval to the names of the members of new board of directors of the House Building Finance Corporation.

He said the cabinet also approved a bill that seeks enhanced coordination among various education boards.

He said the cabinet also approved the proposal for appointment of Mohammad Asim to the post of executive member of the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority.

The cabinet also gave approval to the constitution of a joint investigation team for an investigation into the killing of Nazim Jokhio who was killed in Karachi.

The minister said police investigation into his murder case had been compromised to save the killers of Mr Jokhio.

Mr Chaudhry said the cabinet approved the proposal to convert Citizen Club in F-9 Park, Islamabad, into Gandhara Heritage and Cultural Centre and the PM will head its management committee.

The cabinet, he said, approved the proposal to send to Cuba made-in-Pakistan Covid-related medical equipment worth Rs23 million. The consignment includes face masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment.

He said the ministries had been given the powers to make temporary appointments on vacant posts for six months.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2021

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