Cabinet’s understandable decisions

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THE Federal Cabinet, which met in Islamabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, took several important and understandable decisions that would go a long way in promoting national harmony, good governance and resolving some of the chronic problems being faced by the people.

In line with the earlier announcement of the PM, it gave go ahead for initiating dialogue with estranged Baloch leaders sans those having links with India; setting up Afghan refugee camps at Pak-Afghan border, introduction of 3G and 4G internet services in Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan and merged districts of KP; construction of an international airport at Skardu besides upgradation of the existing ones at Gilgit and Skardu and cutting of official protocol.

The incumbent Government has achieved a distinction for regularly holding meetings of the Federal Cabinet and ensuring implementation of the decisions taken by the top policy and decision-making platform of the country.

This is evident from the figures shared by Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry while briefing newsmen about proceedings of the cabinet, who said since coming to power in 2018, the federal cabinet held 141 meetings during which 3,776 decisions were taken, adding that the implementation ratio was 90 percent.

It also deserves credit for taking practical measures for initiation of dialogue with estranged Baloch nationalists on the second day of the announcement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan in this regard, which is reflective of the sincerity and seriousness of the Government.

The decision not to engage those having links with India is also understandable as those playing in the hands of the enemy of the country cannot claim to have political or economic grievances.

People are fully entitled to air their grievances but no patriotic citizen is expected to establish links with the enemy of the country for whatever reason.

It is hoped that the Government would assign the task of dialogue to mature personalities having a good reputation and empower them to make decisions on merit.

The Government has prioritized progress and development of Balochistan and for this purpose it is spending huge amounts on completion of existing and new projects that would surely help alleviate socio-economic sufferings of the people of the province but fruits of these projects would trickle down only if there is complete peace and tranquillity in all parts of the province.

There seems to be no reason for any hiccup in the process of engagement when Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has also declared that Balochistan is in sharp focus of national leadership and the army is fully engaged in enabling national and provincial response in synergy with other institutions of the state.

As for Indian involvement, the Government claims its terrorist network has largely been broken in Balochistan and there is, therefore, need on the part of the law-enforcing agencies to wipe it out completely as the enemy has made no secret of its desire to deny the fruits of CPEC to people of Pakistan.

The decision to establish refugee camps at Afghan border is also appropriate and timely as the situation in Afghanistan was deteriorating at an alarming pace with apprehensions that another influx of refugees was imminent.

In fact, the decision to contain refugees to border areas should have been taken decades back as proliferation of refugees across the country created enormous problems and challenges.

The new decision to locate fresh Afghan refugees to border areas should also be made applicable to those in the country for a long time.

The decision of the Prime Minister not to use official protocol for private activities is appreciable but there is need to take a comprehensive review of the existing protocols for all VIPs with the objective of not only discouraging pomp and show and saving money but also alleviating sufferings of the people vis-à-vis VIP movements.

Unfortunately, the cabinet did not take a decision on the proposal of the Minister for Religious Affairs for grant of monthly stipend to prayer leaders of mosques in the federal capital when PTI’s own government in KP is already implementing the plan.

This should be replicated not just in Islamabad but also in Punjab where PTI is in power so that prayer leaders are assured an honourable livelihood.

Extension of 3G and 4G services to GB, Balochistan and formerly FATA region and improvement of airports would surely help improve life of the people besides complementing efforts for tourism promotion.

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