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ISLAMABAD, March 31: The federal cabinet, in its first meeting held immediately after its swearing-in on Monday, decided to form two committees to prepare recommendations for reinstatement of judges and repeal of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

The meeting was presided over by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Briefing newsmen at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat after the meeting, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rahman said the two committees would be headed by the minister for law and justice and its members would be nominated by the heads of coalition parties.

In reply to a question about Pemra, Ms Rahman said her ministry was preparing a draft proposal to be submitted to the law division to revoke the amendments made to the Pemra Ordinance on Nov 3, 2007.

She said the cabinet approved necessary amendments to be made in labour laws to incorporate the government’s decision of fixing Rs6,000 per month as the minimum wage of a labourer or worker.

She said the PPP-led coalition government was firmly committed to implementing the 7the and 8th wage board awards for press workers and working journalists and it had decided to set up a tripartite commission comprising representatives of the PFUJ, APNS and the ministry of information to resolve the matter.

In reply to a question, the minister said the information ministry had started spade work to amend the Access to Information law.

She said the cabinet had decided to meet every fortnight to take up summaries of various ministries to implement the 100-day programme on fast track and, if necessary, such meetings might be held twice a week.

The information minister quoted the prime minister as telling the cabinet members that despite serious challenges and limited resources, the government would try its best to come up to the expectations of the nation.

The cabinet, she said, welcomed the support price of wheat fixed at Rs625 per 40kg and expressed the resolve that no shortage of wheat and flour would be allowed to be created by vested interests in future.

The prime minister said that although the cabinet had the responsibility to prepare policies and work out the course for implementation, the government would like to take parliament into confidence on all important issues to ensure transparency and consensus on all issues.

Consensus, the prime minister said, was always helpful in the successful implementation of policies.

The prime minister directed all ministers to evaluate projects of their ministries and prepare short-term and long-term plans in accordance with the manifestos of the coalition government.

Ms Rahman said that the cabinet reiterated that austerity and transparency should be the guiding parameters while preparing plans and specifically during implementation of these plans.

The information minister quoted Mr Gilani as telling the cabinet that the government would take executive action to formally ask the UN to probe into the assassination of Ms Benazir Bhutto.

When asked if the cabinet discussed a constitutional package to repeal the controversial Article 58(2)b of the Constitution or impeach the president, Ms Rahman said since it was the first meeting, no such matters came under discussion.

When asked whether the austerity drive started with a 40 per cent cut in the PM House expenditures would trickle down to other ministries, the president house and provincial governments, the minister said: “We have started it by setting our own example and hopefully it will be followed by others.”

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