ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday directed the authorities concerned to ensure that the impact of a reduction in prices of petroleum products is shifted to people in the form of decreased transport fares and rates of eatables.

“Prices of eatables and transport fares should be reduced in proportion to the 11 per cent decrease in the petroleum prices announced by the government,” the prime minister said while presiding over a meeting of the cabinet.

He asked the interior ministry and the district administrations across the country to ensure reduction in the prices of commodities.

The meeting also called for strict action against profiteers and hoarders.

The cabinet endorsed the decision taken at a recent meeting of the National Security Commi­ttee (NSC) to try the protesters, who had destroyed the public and private property, including military installations on May 11, under the Army Act.

According to the Prime Minister Office, the cabinet endorsed the decisions of the NSC taken on May 16 and those of the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases made on May 11.

Briefing the cabinet members on the ‘Road to Makkah’ project signed between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia a few days ago, the prime minister said it would help facilitate the pilgrims.

Under the project, he pointed out, around 26,143 intending pilgrims would undergo the immigration process at Islamabad International Airport and would be exempted from the lengthy process at Saudi airports. He expressed the hope that the facility would be extended to Lahore and Karachi airports by next year.

The cabinet approved the establishment of an insurance tribunal in Rawalpindi. It would incur no additional expenses as the existing Accountability Court No 4 would be converted into the insurance tribunal.

About the inauguration of border trade market and power transmission line on Thursday, the prime minister said Pakistan desired to enhance cooperation with Iran in multiple sectors. He informed the meeting that the two sides had agreed to improve security along the 900km Pakistan-Iran border. Both sides had emphasised the need for joint efforts to counter cross-border terrorism, he added.

PM Shehbaz said the import of low-cost electricity from Iran would help uplift the remote areas of Balochistan.

He said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi took personal interest in ensuring completion of the much-delayed 100MW Gabd-Polan power transmission line in record time. The project would ensure power supply to southern Balochistan, particularly Gwadar, he added.

He said the Mand-Pishin border marketplace would also create employment opportunities for people on both sides of the border and usher in a new era of development.

PM Shehbaz told the cabinet that the Iranian president had expressed special interest in enhancing bilateral trade, besides discussing cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science and technology, and solar energy.

A high-level delegation, led by Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, would visit Iran for further deliberations on these projects, he added.

Support to UAE investors

Prime Minister Sharif said the government would extend every possible support to the investors from the United Arab Emirates.

The prime minister, during a meeting with a delegation from the UAE, welcomed their keen interest in investing in the ports and shipping industry of Pakistan.

He said Pakistan attached great importance to expanding brotherly ties with the UAE in diverse fields, particularly in trade and investment.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2023

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