ISLAMABAD: The apex committee of Special Investment and Faci­litation Council (SIFC) on Friday reviewed various initiatives being steered through the council and gave principle approval for Strategic Canals Vis­ion 2030 and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) reforms.

Caretaker Prime Mini­ster Anwaarul Haq Kakar along with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Syed Asim Munir presided over the ninth SIFC’s apex committee meeting, which was attended by federal cabinet members, provincial chief ministers and top government officials.

The caretaker premier claimed to have accomplished major economic milestones and expressed the hope that the incoming elected government would ensure the continuity of policies set by the SIFC.

An official statement issued by the PM Office said, “The prime minister appreciated the role of SIFC, ministries, departments and affiliated stakeholders in accomplishing the major economic milestones as part of the interim government and setting the pace for future endeavours.”

Progress on the ongoing projects and policy initiatives were shared during the meeting, as relevant ministries presented plans for subsequent endeavours to attract investment.

The SIFC apex committee appreciated the contribution made for improving macro and micro-economic conditions and the ‘whole-of-government approach’ in realising the envisioned dividends.

It commended the steps taken to build a sustainable ecosystem for nurturing latent potential and attracting investments, with emphasis on cross-sectoral policy interventions, human resource development, infrastructural uplift and strengthening of domestic dispute resolution mechanism. It appreciated the progress on the level of economic engagements with friendly countries and underscored the need to efficiently realise investment commitments into economic dividends.

Speaking on the occasion, COAS Gen Syed Asim Munir assured firm resolve of Pakistan Army to support the government’s initiatives for economic stability of the country and socioeconomic well-being of its people.

Mind games

Earlier, caretaker PM Kakar at the launch of PM’s National Mind Sports Initiative highlighted the importance of sports, particularly mind games, in fostering both physical and mental development of youth.

He said chess helps to instill discipline in individuals’ thought processes, adding that every student should have access to this game. He highlighted the positive impact of such mind games on mental well-being and said the youth engaged in such healthy activities would become successful professionals. These games promote cognitive activity and critical thinking among players, he said.

He also acknowledged the contribution of Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Fawad Hassan Fawad to launch this initiative. Under this project, the minister said, the facility of mind games would be provided at 10,000 public schools across the country.

“We are going to take it across all the public schools in Pakistan, and we are also engaging the corporate sector and inviting the private schools to have this in every single school in the country,” he added.

The minister said some 100 schools in Islamabad would be given the facility during the first month.

The minister also recalled the tremendous performance of late Mir Sultan Khan, a native chess player from Sargodha, who won the British Chess Championship in 1929, 1931, and 1932.

President of the International Chess Federation (Fide) Arkady Dvorkovich said besides being a mind game, chess was a lot of fun too. He said this game was very important for a country like Pakistan, having millions of young minds. He vowed that the federation would support this initiative and train schoolteachers, who would then train children.

Fide managing director Dana Reizniece-Ozola, Asian Chess Federation president Sheikh Sultan bin Khaleefa Al Nahyan, and Pakistan Chess Federation president Hanif Qureshi were also present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, February 3rd, 2024

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